Monday, April 29, 2013

Are Timeouts Messing Up Your Kids? Only If You're Doing Them Wrong. (And Yes, You Probably Are.)

Timeouts may sound cruel, but they make sense when you consider their history and context. The term timeout is actually an abbreviation for timeout from positive reinforcement. Timeouts are based on the premise that kids should be raised in environments that are rich with “time-ins:” loving, positive interactions like “reading a story, laughing with them, fixing popcorn with them, or playing a game with them,” says Edward Christophersen, a psychologist and pediatrician at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., and the author of Beyond Discipline: Parenting That Lasts a Lifetime. When children in nurturing environments do something dangerous or defiant, the idea is to briefly take away positive reinforcement so that they learn to associate the good things—the time-ins—with good, safe behavior. Timeouts don’t work very well, then, if you haven’t created a richly positive environment for your child. more

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