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Calee 01-24-2011 11:33 AM

I'm Learning-can you help me? ("Time-out")
OK, I know that we don't "do" time-out at GCM ;) But I'm wondering if what I am currently doing is considered traditional time-out, and if so, what I could do differently.

I know the basics-I don't do "naughty" spots or one minute per year or anything like that.

For instance- the other day we had another family over who has several children. My son (3 in a few days) began hitting, screaming at, and taking toys from one of the little girls. I took him back to his room and sat with him until he calmed down. I told him that he may not hit, scream at or snatch toys from the other children. He said "ok mommy". I asked if he was ready to go play again and follow those instructions and he said no. I told him he needed to stay in his room until he was ready. He said ok and hopped down (we were sitting on the bed together) and started playing in his room. I left. A little while later he came out.

Is that too much? Too little? I am coming out of a very punitive church/mindset/FOO, and am trying so hard to find a not-punitive and not-permissive-niche....that perfect place that is NEITHER of those. It's really hard for me and I second guess myself constantly.

AmyDoll 01-24-2011 11:38 AM

Re: I'm Learning-can you help me? ("Time-out")
Nope that's not punitive at all :)
We do that "You hit you sit" - we take a break & go over rules & redirect.
Kindly and firmly is the goal as well as teaching.
So the only other thing I'd do is make sure you are telling him what *to* do. Not just NOT hitting.

3boysforme 01-24-2011 11:39 AM

Re: I'm Learning-can you help me? ("Time-out")
To me, what you did is not exactly time out. You removed him from a situation in which he was harming others, and helped him to calm down until he could return and play nicely. I think you did a good job!

A lot of moms here do a comfort corner, I think they are great ideas. I only don't have one because of lack of space. But the general idea is that the comfort corner is somewhere for them to go when they are overwhelmed or angry, and calm themselves. I think there is a sticky if you want to look at it and get some ideas.

gpsings 01-24-2011 11:48 AM

Re: I'm Learning-can you help me? ("Time-out")
Sounds to me like what you did was perfect! I've been here since October, and I hadn't put that together yet. :haha :bag
See? You're already setting an example for other mamas. :D

Calee 01-24-2011 12:14 PM

Re: I'm Learning-can you help me? ("Time-out")
Thanks guys!

So, having him stay in his room is ok, as long as he is welcome to join us when he is calm/ready to play with kindness, etc?

Maggirayne 01-24-2011 12:21 PM

Re: I'm Learning-can you help me? ("Time-out")
Yep, you aren't forcing him to stay an arbitrary time. You are giving him space and a safe place to get in control of himself. *He* decides when to come out.

allisonlindberg 01-24-2011 12:54 PM

Re: I'm Learning-can you help me? ("Time-out")
We often do calm-down spot. I let the boys pick where to sit and they can get up when they are calm. We do this for wild behavior.

For actual hitting/biting/kicking we do more of a traditional time out. I don't set the timer or anything, but I decide where they can sit and when they are allowed to get up after enough time to cool down, apologize to the injured party,etc.

EnglishRose 01-24-2011 01:06 PM

Re: I'm Learning-can you help me? ("Time-out")
I think that's spot on.

Personally, I struggle with the use of 'time-out' when parents are using it to vent their own frustrations, to demonstrate their power and that they are in control. When it's repeatedly used as a punishment for all 'bad' behaviour i think it stiffles growth. The child doesn't see the consequence of his actions and the underlying message is one of rejection.

However, there are times when a child needs to be removed from a situation, not because that is the blanket punishment but because the child needs time and space to calm down or for the safety and well being of others. We also tell our daughter to leave the room if she won't stop interrupting (as in no one else can say a full sentence). Again she is free to come back and join in when she's prepared to let other talk too. In these situations the child might be unhappy being removed but i still don't see it as punitive because it's a consequence of that specific behaviour.:think

PurpleButterfly 01-24-2011 01:59 PM

Re: I'm Learning-can you help me? ("Time-out")
I like this article about why time-out's are a detriment to healthy development and relationships. Another great one here at the Natural Child Project. :tu

To the OP, you handled the situation beautifully by staying with your child. You connected with him when he was out of control and needed you to help him. You guided him away from the source of stress to a calming place and remained with him which was also reassuring and calming.

If we don't actively parent our children during social situations, how else are they ever going to learn how to process healthy, normal emotions and appropriately handle relationship dynamics? :shrug3 Putting a child in time-out or telling them they have to stay isolated somewhere doesn't empower them. It is confusing and shaming.

When we see our kids having a meltdown, they are essentially telling us, "Help! I'm out of control and don't know what to do. I need your help." These are our prime teaching opportunities. :tu

Kids left alone to feel badly about having normal feelings and reactions aren't going to learn how to identify and communicate their core emotional needs which are the foundation of every relationship. :heart There are many ways we can help set our children up for success during playdates....

Prior to playdate:
  • Prepare the play area
"Our friends are coming over to play today. Let's put away any toys you don't want to share." You could also suggest a special basket or pile of toys placed out specifically for sharing.

Mom-wise, your preparation could include a calming activity set out of sight from the kids to be brought out if needed. Play-doh and coloring supplies are my standard must-have's.
  • Prepare your child's expectations
"What will you do if you start to feel angry or frustrated by your friends today? If you want to, you can go play in your room for a few minutes if you want to get away from everyone. You can always come to me if you don't know what to do."

"What will you do if your friends start making a big mess? You can remind them that if they want to play with your toys they have to take care of them and put them away. You can always come to me if you don't know what to do."
  • Prepare your child's body
Make sure his blood sugar isn't going to be at a low point during the playdate. I always give a healthy protein snack and water prior to playdates.

If your child is not well-rested, seriously consider rescheduling the playdate. Sometimes an irritable child can indicate comining down w/illness in which case most moms are very appreciative for rescheduled playdates even if it's just a possible suspicion.

During visit:

Watch for signs of "overload" in your child. If you see him getting frustrated or overstimulated, bring him to a quiet place for a snuggle before the sitation escalates. "I saw the girls playing with all your toys. Were you feeling frustrated that they weren't sharing or playing the way you wanted to? I can understand that." *hugs, ninnies, whatever helps you connect to each other and de-stress for 5-10 minutes* Then return to the group or respect his need to play independently if indicated.

Subsequently you can also remove your child from an overstimulated or aggressive playmate. "Come with mama for a few minutes...."

If hitting does occur, same as above but also address the behavior and tell him what to do next time. "You must have been so angry when they were taking over your toys. I would be angry, too. But that doesn't mean it's okay to hit. Use your words instead, like this, 'I'm angry that you're not sharing my toys!'

Having an allergy-safe sugar and dye-free snack and drink to offer all the kids mid-playdate or whenever you see them starting to get restless or overstimulated can be very helpful. :tu

Help your child learn to stand up for his belongings being treated respectfully. Check in on any seperate play areas/rooms and guide the kids if more than a few items are out. "In this house we put toys away before we start playing with a new toy. Let's all grab one toy and I'll show you where we put it away!"

Remember that it's okay and perfectly polite to end a playdate. "Thank you so much for coming over to play today! We have another ten minutes before we need to start getting dinner ready/take a nap/eat lunch/take care of some errands before the day is over. Let's figure out when we can play together again soon!"

After visit:

Praise your child for the positive things you observed.
"You should be so proud of yourself for sharing your toys today!"
"Thanks for being patient with the baby when she was throwing your train. You're really growing up!"
"Wait til we tell Daddy how you cleaned your toys up so nicely today!"
"You were so smart to use your words when you felt angry today!"

You can also talk about things that didn't work and use the opportunity to help them better understand what they can do next time.

"It was so frustrating when those girls were taking your trains! Next time you can use your words or ask me for help. It's not easy learning how to share our things but you're learning, aren't you? You're a smart boy and I love you!"

Dinnertime with Daddy is great for review "lessons"! My kids have always loved to hear me describe the events of the day and especially love when I point out positive behavior to Daddy.

"Oh goodness it was so frustrating when those girls started taking his trains! He was very angry but we learned about using our words today, didn't we. Before the girls left, he apologized all by himself, too. You're a wonderful boy and we love you."

"Today at the playdate the baby started throwing Charlie's trains! He was so patient and gentle. I was really proud of you, Charlie, and you should be proud of yourself, too."

:heart :)

Calee 01-24-2011 02:10 PM

Re: I'm Learning-can you help me? ("Time-out")
Thos are great points, thanks. I did discover after the playdate was over that several of my son's toys were broken. It did make me reflect and wonder if some of his anger was stemming from that.

My son is definitely struggling with sharing/hitting/etc. I don't deny that. However, this playdate did get a bit out of control. It was a family of 5, and 4 of them were old enough to play-three of them older than ds, and very rough with his toys. I think it was way too much. Also, every single toy in the entire playroom was dumped on the floor-it was very overstimulating for ME, so I am sure it was for him as well.

I didn't set him up for success in this situation. I actually was kind of glad he chose to play in his room for awhile, because the rest of the house was pure chaos.

PDX Mommy 01-24-2011 02:16 PM

Re: I'm Learning-can you help me? ("Time-out")
I think what you did was perfect! E is about the same age as your G and we struggle with a lot of the same things. Totally age-expected, IMO.

BethMarie 01-24-2011 02:20 PM

Re: I'm Learning-can you help me? ("Time-out")
Wow!!! Purple Butterfly, can we Please sticky this!!!! I am all choked up reading it because it is such a beautiful scripting!! Such an amazing way to set them up for success!! I'm gonna share your response with DH and keep it in my GBD toolbox!
Awesome! Thank you!

Oh...and about how old to dc need to be before using these tools. Ds is only 16 months, is it too early to start now?!

PurpleButterfly 01-24-2011 02:34 PM

Re: I'm Learning-can you help me? ("Time-out")

Originally Posted by BethMarie (Post 3630921)
Wow!!! Purple Butterfly, can we Please sticky this!!!! I am all choked up reading it because it is such a beautiful scripting!! Such an amazing way to set them up for success!! I'm gonna share your response with DH and keep it in my GBD toolbox!
Awesome! Thank you!

Oh...and about how old to dc need to be before using these tools. Ds is only 16 months, is it too early to start now?!

:ty5 :O :heart

If they are having playdates, the time to start is now. :yes Just make sure your expectations are age-appropriate - so a 16 mo would not be expected to tell his friends how to put away toys :giggle . The younger they are, the more actively you are parenting and modeling the behaviors you want them to emulate. :heart

Something else I find helpful probably starting around age 3 (depending on how verbal your child is) is dialoguing w/my dc the day after a playdate. I ask them what their experience was like - did they enjoy those friends or have any problems? Were there any things that they felt uncomfortable with or angry about? Do they want to have these friends over again or would they rather not for a while?

I have learned a LOT from doing this. One time it sounded like the bigger kids (7-9 yo's) were having a great time upstairs while we were right below with the babies. Lo and behold, when they left, my ds asked me to never have them over again! Poor guy was exhausted from trying to control chaos of one family w/3 kids that included a brother physically attacking a little sister, trying to open a 2nd story window (!!!!) and trashing the entire playroom (including a broken video game disc) :mad.

All this within maybe 10 minutes! My ds said he didn't feel like he even had time to come get help. It was a terrific opportunity to validate all the things he had done so well as well as to help him learn new skills for handling a tazsmanian devil in the house should it occur again (and it has despite out best efforts :phew because they are hidden in many families!).

littlerainbow 04-05-2011 04:44 PM

Re: I'm Learning-can you help me? ("Time-out")
I've really enjoyed reading the advice in this thread, some of the scripting and ideas are things I wouldn't have thought of. Thanks!

Thankfulforgrace 04-05-2011 05:56 PM

Re: I'm Learning-can you help me? ("Time-out")
What you did sounds great OP! We call it "taking a break" and I think it's very healthy to take a break and regroup when feeling overwhelmed/angry, etc.

Purplebutterfly, you rock, as always :heart

---------- Post added at 06:56 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:53 PM ----------

Wanted to add I find traditional time outs sad b/c of really the "love withdrawl" concept of them (Alfie Kohn's term). The if you can't behave like I think you should, you don't get to be around me. It misses IMO both an excellent teaching opportunity, and creates distance in the relationship. :(

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