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Child Discipline Techniques

Handling Bad Behavior: The Time-Out Trend

Parents aim to raise their children to be productive members of society, so when kids start pitching public fits or socking playmates at the park, most moms and dads step in to guide their offspring toward more positive interactions. From Kate Gosselin to Alec Baldwin, everyone has an opinion on the proper way to discipline. One trend that is increasingly popular with today's parents is time-out.

A time-out removes a child from a situation so they can reflect on their behavior. It also serves as a cooling off period. How and when that time-out is taken depends on which philosophy a parent chooses to follow. Here are two common techniques:

1-2-3 Magic: Dr. Thomas Phelan uses the time-out as the end-result of a warning system.  According to his theory, a parent warns a child with, "That's 1", "That's 2", and then "That's 3 and time-out" over the course of 30 minutes. If the tot reaches the end stage, without emotion the parent removes the child from their current environment and places them in their room for one minute per year of age. When the time-out is over, the child is free to go on with their activities — no apology or conversation about the misbehavior is necessary.


Naughty Step: This method, made famous by Supernanny Jo Frost, tells parents to confront their child's misbehavior when it happens, explain why it is wrong, and warn them not to do it again. If the tot repeats the action, he is placed on a step on the staircase or a mat for one minute per year of age with a short explanation as to why he was put there. When the time-out is over, the parent should get on the child's level and explain the misbehavior one more time, ask for an apology, and then praise the child for their understanding.

Do you use time-out with your children, and if so, which method?

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Join The Conversation
teenprograms teenprograms 6 years
During teenage many children become disobedient and disrespectful. They want complete independence during adolescents and think not to be interfered by anyone. The disobedience problem becomes more severe if teens are not recovered. Parents must give enough time to their distracted adolescents that help them in returning back on right track with improved life skills. Disciplined environment helps teens not to go out of track. Parents should teach the lessons of discipline, moral values and ethics to children from childhood.
michiec michiec 8 years
i agree with logab/jess Timeout doesnt always work. And yes there are way too many bad kids out there! BRATS!
logab logab 8 years
i agree with super nannys method and spanking...while it is hard to enforce not hitting, on rare occasion a 2 year old needs a spanking. mind you it is to hurt their feelings not their bottom, but anyone going through terrible twos knows that sometimes time out just doesn't work!! but way more often than not time out is very effective. we even bought the cutest little floor mat that says "time out" : ) everyone should always remember that different things work for different children. -Jess
DFlyGoddess DFlyGoddess 8 years
I don't agree that all kids need to be spanked, as it's kinda hard to tell your kid "Do not hit your brother" and reinforce that by, um, hitting him. My son is only 2 and a half months old, so I haven't used any disciplinary tactics yet, but I intend to use Supernanny's method.
meandtheo meandtheo 8 years
i have not had to use time out yet but would do it if my daughter was misbehaving to the point that i thought it was needed. as for a method, i think "super nanny's" method seems like the correct approach for me. as an educator and a mother i feel that it is important to tell children what they are doing wrong so that they are then able to correct the "bad" behavior. if you just put them in timeout without explanation they will not understand why they are there and/or how to not be there again.
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