When Time-Outs Don't Work

by Danyelle Little

4 discipline tips to help improve your child's behavior

Parenting has its challenges.

Discipline is one area that can be difficult for both the parent and the child.

As a parent, you want to make sure that your child is well-behaved and follows the rules. And though we'd all like to think that our children are perfect and never act out, reality has shown us that this is not always the case. And when these instances happen, they have to be dealt with accordingly.

Disciplining your child is never fun, but it is necessary. Each child is different, so the way you administer discipline can't be a one-size-fits-all method. You have to make sure that it matches the child and the behavior that they displayed.

Time-outs are an excellent way to discipline children, but they don't always work. When they fail, try one of these four ideas that can help you improve your child's behavior.

Checkmark System

Create a chart that visually illustrates your child's behavior. Each time your child disobeys you or doesn't follow the rules, add a checkmark to their chart. If they get four or more checkmarks within a set amount of time, then they will have repercussions: no treats, television, computer or phone privileges, for instance. Taking away these items can help drive home the importance of behaving, and will help them make better choices when it comes to their actions.

Writing It Out

Some children, especially ones between 5 and 8, have problems understanding what they did wrong. Many times, they mimic the behavior of others, not getting the fact that the behavior is negative. You can have your child write out what they did wrong, after discussing it with them, and have them decide what their punishment should be. After a few days, sit down with your child and re-read their disciplinary action and discuss what they have learned.

Seeing Is Believing

One way to make your children comprehend their misbehavior is to mimic them. If they are younger, they may not truly understand what they did wrong. By mimicking their behavior and acting out what they did, they can visually see in action that they shouldn't have behaved that way.

Talking Helps

Many people think that kids are too young to be talked to about their behavior, but they are wrong. Actually discussing what they did while being at their eye level is a great way to help them understand their behavior and what needs improving. Use simple, to-the-point dialogue. Be stern, but don't raise your voice. Ask them if they understand what they did, and get feedback from them on how they could improve.

And yes, time-outs are also a great disciplinary tool. For many kids, the thought of being removed and not able to be with others is a way to stop their negative behavior in their tracks.

Remember, consistency is always key. The more consistent you are, the better your child will react to the discipline you administer -- and the less often you'll have to administer it.


Parenting: "When Time-Outs Don't Work"