“Go to your room and think about what you did to your sister!” or “Go to the naughty chair.”
Ah, the infamous “Time-Out”! As challenging as it may seem in the midst of frustration on both parties, connection is what the child needs in these moments when he has done something “bad” or something of which coParents don’t approve.
Parents tend to think that putting their child in a time-out will make him think about what he did and realize the consequences. Yet when a child is in a time-out, he is not thinking of what he did “wrong.” He is most likely feeling resentment, perhaps thinking of ways to get even. And the hardest part of what a child experiences during a time-out is feeling isolated from our love.
According to research, time-outs actually can damage the child’s psyche and truthfully doesn’t actually change the child’s behavior. What it ends up doing is sending the child into a panic when we isolate him from our love. Again, this is where conditional parenting tends to “do to” the child instead of “working with” him/her.
It is imperative that we allow our children to experience their feelings – whether it is anger, aggression, and/or sadness that is in need of being expressed. If we are not able to support and encourage them to work through their feelings, then we are merely teaching them to sweep their feelings under the rug, so to speak.
So, in terms of sending children into a time-out, it may seem like it works for the time being but the outcome of disconnection, separation and rejection (and perhaps the many years of therapy) just isn’t worth it (at least in my eyes).
Time-outs can also lead to our children shutting down and numbing their emotions, which can continue into their adulthood and influence how they communicate (or don’t communicate) with others.