Is Time Out a Good Way to Discipline Kids?

Tuesday June 26, 2012

By Amy Morin

Is time out a good consequence for kids? The parents of a kindergarten girl in Kentucky don't think so. They are suing the school system for placing their daughter in a time out.

The parents are suing the school over the time out punishment because they say the child was placed in a dark room all by herself. The parents report that it has caused mental and emotional suffering, including anxiety and emotional suffering.

So it brings up the question, is time out an acceptable consequence or is it a punishment that causes emotional scars?

Should schools be allowed to use time outs? Just like with all consequences the answer depends on how it is used. If it is used as a tool to teach children new skills, it can help them learn how to regulate their emotions and manage their behaviors.

However, it is used in a punitive way it can likely cause emotional scars. I've worked with parents who make their kids touch their nose to the corner or stay on their knees during a time out. These sorts of ways of forcing kids into submission are likely only going to increase behavioral problems.

Instead, it is important to learn how to make time out an effective consequence. There are ways to use time out as a teaching tool versus a humiliating battle of the wills.


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