A child who misbehaves often gets a time-out. Many parents and experts regard this tactic as the more acceptable, effective and positive discipline method over physical punishment.
Parents usually ask children in a time-out to sit in a corner while they're not allowed to do anything else. The goal is to let them mull over what they did wrong so that, hopefully, they will never do it again.
A time-out, however, has its downsides. In recent years, parents and experts have debated on whether this type of method actually bears negative effects.
As Chris Young noted via Craig Daily Express, children who are given time-outs could get angry or develop feelings of resentment towards the person who told them to stay in the corner for misbehaving. Instead of learning not to repeat the same mistakes, a time-out or a time away in isolation could aggravate the children's feeling and belief that they are bad.
"Chances are they were already feeling not very good about themselves before the outburst," expert Otto Weininger, Ph.D. said, as per Aha Parenting. "The isolation just serves to confirm in their own minds that they were right."
A time-out also provokes a power struggle between the child and the adult. It doesn't reaffirm the child-parent relationship as it's the adults who always "wins" in this power struggle.
The kids, however, could learn to figure out how they can exact "revenge" on their parents during a time-out. Thus, whatever behavior that needs correction doesn't improve.
Some experts are now saying not every kid responds to a time-out well, especially for those below five-years-old. So, instead of time-outs, parents must do "time in" with their misbehaving children. The methods in a time in are more about nurturing and assuring the child he's still loved, acknowledged and given worth even if he misbehaved.
Time in involves the parents sitting down with a child as he or she settles down from having a tantrum. Sometimes, children in a time in might express unwillingness to hug their parents and however bad this might seem, adults should still make an effort to connect by verbalizing acknowledgment or making eye contact.
Time in involves teaching the child coping mechanisms and ways to handle their feelings of hurt, frustration, anger or disappointment. It helps them develop problem-solving skills, self-awareness and methods of resolving conflicts within themselves and with others.
Learn more about age-appropriate time in discipline methods from psychologists the Weinholds. Watch the video below for more insights on time in versus time-out.