DETROIT – Time-outs have become the go-to discipline strategy for many parents of young children.
Studies find that more than 3 in 4 parents report using time-outs to deal with misbehavior and about 70 percent of those think they’re effective. While experts said some parents are missing the real point of the time-out, overall the study has good news.
The study looked at time-outs over several years from birth to around 10 years old or fifth grade. It found no long-term effects for children put in time-outs vs. children that weren’t.
Dr. Emily Mudd, a pediatric behavioral health doctor at Cleveland Clinic, said researchers looked at data from a national survey of more than 1,000 children. Results showed no association between use of time-outs and symptoms of depression, anxiety, aggression or self-control.
Experts said parents should use a time-out appropriately to help children learn to self-regulate their emotions and not as a punishment. Time-outs don’t work for all children and if you do use them, keep them short.
Mudd also wants to remind parents that children often receive a lot of negative feedback throughout the day and it’s important to take time to praise them when they’re behaving appropriately.
How to effectively
- Use time-outs to help children self-regulate emotions not punishments
- Time-outs don’t work for all children
- Keep them short
- Praise positive behavior (not just focusing on negative)