Sunday, April 15, 2012

Time for a time out?

- when ‘time out’ works - and when it doesn´t

For some time I´ve been blogging about raising children. I´ve posted about spanking and about the basic principle of using force as a tool for getting the attention of your kids. Now, I want to present a way to use force, that really does work - and not, if you do it wrong. The main reason I wanted to share these thoughts is this: if spanking is not the way, we need something to replace it with. Something that works and something that does minimal harm to our children. Because let´s face the fact: any kind of using force is in some way harmful. The only reason we must use force, is that the alternative is more harmful than refrain from using force.

But before I begin, I need to address some ‘complaints’ I´ve received. Now, don´t worry, the complaints aren´t that bad. In fact, those who have complained have done so to help me improve my posts and I receive them in that fashion; feedback is my chance to better myself, weither the feedback is positive or negative.

One of the things mentioned to me is that my posts are long. Agreed, they are long. Perhaps I just have too much on my mind. I feel it would be wrong of me to just shorten the posts, because if I do, I may miss some important points. Still, I do want my readers to stick with it, so here is my solution: for the future my longer posts will be broken into to smaller pieces and then you can read as much (or as little) as you want. I hope this would do the trick?

Time out - the benefits
And now back to the topic of this post. Most modern day parents have heard about the use of ‘time out’ and it is widely used. There are some very good reasons why:

First of all, the ‘time out’ has a built-in strength most other ways of raising kids doesn´t: it has infinity! This is brilliant! By infinity I simply mean, that no matter (well, almost...) when, where and for what reason you give your kids a time out, the timer can be reset. If the kid has had a 2 minute time out and still doesn´t want to listen, you can give the kid an additional minute and keep expanding the time out till it works. The advantage of this built-in feature is a combination of at least three things:

#a: However the duration of the time out, it can always get worse: you can prolong it.

#b: There is always a way out: your child can decide to end the time out within a short period of time: by listening to you.

#c: The relation between parent and child is intact, provided you keep in touch with your kid during the time out.

Time out - when it´s not helpful
I´ll get deeper into these three advantages in another post, but right now I want to address an important issue: time out does not always work, because there is one thing you need to have when using a time out. One thing you cannot do without: Time!

In some situations we do not have the time for a time out. It can be that the whole family is on its way out or it can be that we are at a family gathering where there is no time, if we want to be good guests (and we do, don´t we?) or it could be that it´s around bed time and if we use a time out now, it´s almost as much a reward as it is a punishment.

If this is the case: there is no time or it´s a bad time; then we must understand that using the time out can be devastating. As a parent, I must win all battles! If I lose a battle I have to start all over again, because the kid has learned, that sometimes you budge, even though you said you wouldn’t.

But if a time out is fitting, it can be a very powerful tool for raising children. The important thing is to keep in touch with your children when using this tool. You can´t leave your kids in a time out and not speak to them for a long duration. You must stay in contact and keep the back door open.

And now the summing up:

#1: Time out is a brilliant tool for raising children. It has a built-in feature of infinity that gives you three advantages as described above

#2: Using a time out you need to stay in touch with your kid to keep the back door open, so that the kid can escape the punishment by listening to you

#3: Because a parent must win all battles, it is imperative to only use time outs, when there is time for it and when the timing and situation calls for it

Your turn - share your experiences - ask questions...