Common questions about time-out.

Q.   What should I do when my child refuses to go to the time-out area?

A..   This is aggressive research in action. Give your child a choice. Tell him he can go to his room on his own or you will take him back there for twice the time. Give him twenty to thirty seconds to think it over. If he doesn’t budge, usher or carry him back there for twice the time. Your child will quickly figure out the advantages of going to his room unassisted

 

Q.   What should I do when my children leave the time-out area before the timer goes off?

A.   Return them to their rooms and start the time over again.

 

Q.   What should I do if they leave a second time?

A.   Your children are trying to determine whether your saying stop really requires their stopping. Your job is to make stop happen. If they refuse to stay in their rooms, return them to their rooms for twice the time, and tell them you have no choice but to hold the door shut during the time-out. No, this isn’t cruel or unusual, and it won’t injure their feelings or bodies. No one is being hit or humiliated. Their rooms are safe places, and you are simply supporting your words with effective action. After you go through the drill enough times, your children will accept the boundary and stay when asked to.

Q.   What should I do if my child yells and screams during time-out?

A.  This is usually drama for the parent’s benefit, or your child maybe discharging pent-up frustration. Do not reward the drama by giving in to it or by returning to the room with threats or lectures. The drama will pass. Wait it out. When it’s over, welcome your child out.

 

 Q.  What should I do when my children throw their toys around or make a mess of their room?

A.   Inform them that they can’t come out until they pick up all their stuff and put it away. Then, set the timer for twenty minutes to give them time to get the job done. If they still refuse to pick things up when the timer goes off, don’t let them turn the issue into a power struggle. Calmly inform them can’t keep their stuff in their room. Then box up the items your children refuse to pick up and store them away for safe items when they’re ready to take care of them. They’ll probably want the items back right away, but I recommend withholding them for at least a week to get the message across.

 

Q.  What does it mean when my child returns from a time-out and does the same misbehaviour all over again?

A. Most likely, it means your aggressive researcher has more data to collect before he or she is convinced that you mean what you say. Repeat the procedure as often as needed.

 

Q. When I ask my child to go to time-out, sometimes he yells, calls me names, or talks disrespectfully while he goes there. Should I add five more minutes each time he does this?

A.  No. Your child is trying to hook you back out on the dance floor with these gestures. As tempting as it is to take the bait and respond, ignore it. If your child goes to his room and stays there the whole time, then the procedure is working just fine.

 

Q.   I read a parenting magazine that said children will associate their bedrooms as a place of punishment if you use their bedrooms as a place of punishment if you use their bedrooms as a time-out area. Is this true? If so’ how can I avoid this?

A. Your child’s response to time-out depends largely upon how you apply it. If you apply it in a punitive manner with lots of anger, yelling, and upset, sure, your child will associate his bedroom or any other room you use as a place of punishment. If you apply the time-out procedure as recommended in this book, in a firm but respectful manner, your child shouldn’t associate any room you use as a time-out area as a place for punishment. 

 

 

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