Opinions on time outs

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Opinions on time outs

Time out was conceived as a more human alternative to spanking. What happens is, you are landing a blow to the child's psyche, instead of the bottom. Three ways that it is really harmful. One is it erodes the child's trust in the parent. That's really quite devastating. Number two, it's neurobiologically counterproductive, because right when the child is flooded with upsetting, overwhelming feelings that she can't manage on her own, and she needs your close connected presence to help her with that; you are banishing her. Third, once the whole upsetting episode is over, the memory trace that is going to be etched in her mind is; when I'm having trouble, I am on my own. That is the exact opposite of the healthy interdependence that we want to foster in these peacemakers. Instead, use timeout like it was meant for a team, a sports team. The whole team takes a time out. Things aren't going well, you put a pause button on life. Say, "Come on. Let's sit down here together." Lawrence Cohen, in his book "Playful Parenting," calls it a meeting on the couch. "Let's go have a meeting on the couch." It doesn't really matter what you do, it's just that you are connected and the child knows that you are on her side.

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Marcy Axness, PhD

Childhood Development Specialist

Marcy Axness, PhD, is an early development specialist, popular international speaker, and author of Parenting for Peace: Raising the Next Generation of Peacemakers. She is a top blogger at Mothering.com and a member of their expert panel. Featured in several documentary films as an expert in adoption, prenatal development and Waldorf education, Dr. Axness has a private practice coaching parents-in-progress. She considers as one of her most important credentials that she raised two peacemakers to share with the world -- Ian and Eve, both in their 20s. 

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