Parenting is already difficult enough without having to factor in discipline. It seems like there are constantly new developments in parenting, and it’s hard to keep up—especially since all parents are just learning on the job. Luckily, there are some conventionally wise edicts passed down from generation to generation. One of those edicts, unfortunately, is that time-outs are the most effective form of punishment. While that may have been the case for previous generations, the latest expert advice is moving toward more positive alternatives to time-outs.
Before you throw a hissy fit yourself, let’s take a look at the top three positive alternatives to time-outs.
Try Positive Redirection Instead
When you see your child playing with fire or attempting to run out into traffic, it can be tempting to rely on the classic disciplinary tactics of spanking or time-outs. In the moment, you have a gut reaction, and you don’t think twice about stopping the current course of action. It seems more important than anything in the world that you get your child to stop doing what they’re doing.
But, in place of resorting to time-outs and spanking, try positive redirecting instead. In lieu of saying, “Stop misbehaving!”—or worse, “Behave yourself!”—try telling your child what to do instead. Give them specific directions for how to behave, and not only will they quit “misbehaving,” but they’ll also start doing something positive right away. No need for time-outs!
Stay and Listen to Your Child
Most misbehavior stems from a desire for attention. Your child wants to be heard, and so they act out. When you react to that misbehavior by sending them to the corner for a silent “time-out,” you’re essentially reinforcing the idea that you aren’t there to listen to them or pay them attention when they most desire it.
Instead of sending your kid to the corner, try listening to what they have to say, and be sure to explain to them that they don’t have to resort to misbehavior to have your ear.
Give Time-Ins a Shot
Quality time with your kids is the ultimate antidote to misbehavior. Don’t wait until they’re already misbehaving to try to mold their behavior.
The most effective parenting comes from spending time with your kids, really getting to know them, and giving them time-ins rather than time-outs. You might just be surprised by how well-behaved your kids can be when you spend more time engaging with them than you spend disciplining them.