The Time Out Theory

Peter is a good sport. Our first-born. Our guinea pig.

And what a lot of discipline techniques to try out on him.

I was listening to a Focus on the Family radio broadcast the other day that basically said [paraphrased] "time-outs are a waste of time and a poor excuse for discipline". I was surprised! The guest speaker went on to say that parents need to be more forceful, not necessarily explaining every little decision they make for their children, but instead saying "because I said so".

I almost entirely disagree.

The small part of me that agrees is the part that has overheard parents arguing with their children. "Please don't ask me for that, Sally, I don't want to buy that!" "But I want it so much! You said I could have a toy the next time we came!" 

You get the idea. When a child is able to manipulate you and eventually get what they want out of an argument -- that's when "because I said so" might be appropriate.

But surely there is a way to avoid getting to that point.

I have found that respectful and sometimes in depth conversations are the best bet. When my child wants something at the store, I explain why we don't choose to buy it. I share the reasons why I myself wouldn't buy it -- too expensive, not a healthy choice, not something of value, etc. This makes sense to my son and he seems to appreciate the time I take to explain it.

And on the topic of TIME OUTS??

Here's what I have found to work very well. We take a time out together. We have a "little chat". We talk about what happened, what should have happened, what to do next time. If there's a need to apologize, we do.

We finish with {hopefully} an understanding of what was done wrong and how to avoid doing that again. It does take time. Lots of it. No fast-track to parenting here.

But in my opinion, better than a spanking. Better than a solo time out.

Although sometimes he needs to be alone. Sometimes MOMMY needs to be alone.

And sometimes he needs a little pain on the tush. Especially when he's being disrespectful. I do believe that authority must be established. Mom and Dad are in charge.

But as often as possible, we try to treat him with respect in the way we discipline. Is it confusing? Contradictory? How do you discipline your unique child? What have you found that works?

Wonder how things will be different with Ezra?? We still have so much to learn!