The “Time-Out”, what is this “anti positive education” educational method recommended by shrinks?

“Go to your room!”, “Go to the corner!” : these verbal injunctions are certainly familiar to you and for good reason: they are among the punishments most practiced by parents over time. Included in the Time-Out educational method, they oppose new forms of parenting such as positive education. Some specialists, like Caroline Goldman, approve and recommend it. Find out why.

THE “Time Out” is one of the countless parenting methods that parents (and teachers) can choose from to educate their children. called “timeout” in French, it literally consists of “stopping time” and isolate the child temporarily. In the context of this technique, the latter is either sent to the cornereither isolated in his room or in any other room, without no contact with adults concerned for a few minutes.

Considered the educational method and the oldest punishment in the world, many parents have applied it over the years, due to the many benefits touted by some psychologists. The ways of applying this educational method are diverse and varied, and very often depend on the household: Time Out is therefore far from having a unified practice. However, to “get the best out of it”, it would have to be done correctly.

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Time Out: how to use this educational method, according to the professionals who recommend it?

In this sense, the MSD manual has developed a mini-guide about it. To be effective and not harmful, the Time Out technique must respect certain rules.

  • It should not be performed before the age of 2 years.

Below this age, the toddler is not able to understand the sanction and the reasons that led to this isolation. Some specialists even believe that this punishment should not be done before the age of 5, due to the lack of development of the prefrontal cortex.

  • The Time Out must be accompanied by simple educational explanations, before and after its implementation.

Before sending him to the corner or to his room, the parent or the teaching staff must explain to the child why he is isolatedhow his behavior was problematic and why it constitutes misconduct: “usually, verbal reprimands and reminders should precede the time-out”, can we read. Sentences such as “now you calm down” or “I need you to calm down” may agree.

A posteriori, when the corner bet is finished, the adult must ask the child about the reason which led to this punishment. If the kid doesn’t know or can’t remember why he was punished, he should be briefly reminded of the reason, without being too insistent. Child psychologists explain that it is constructive to thank the child for having calmed down.

  • The time-out location must be safe.

The time out must be done in a isolated place that does not affect the feeling of security of the toddler. In this sense, psychologists do not recommend sending him to dark rooms, plunged into darkness, or locking him up: this could engender fear in the child and create a trauma that will continue to grow.

  • Time Out should not be done in front of others.

When it is a teaching staff (from early childhood) who uses it, they must not punish the child in front of a group, at the crèche or in the middle of the classroom for example: the latter could feel it as a humiliation. .

Experts recommend toisolate the child for 1 minute per year of age. If the child is 3 years old, he will be “put away” for 3 minutes. However, care must be taken not to exceed the 5 minute mark, according to the MSD manual. “No more than two minutes at (…) 2 years old”specifies Caroline Goldman, psychologist and defender of Time-Out in France.

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In what cases and why is time out recommended by psychologists?

In the minds of some psychologists and child psychiatrists, the corner punishment and theisolation of the child in his room (or in any other room) are effective in specific cases: they should not be used at all costs and for just anything.

We use it in situations where : the child has had a problematic behavior, that he has not obeyed and that he continues the “stupidity” following the first verbal explanation of the parent, that he has an uncontrollable emotional reaction (tantrum), that he does not want to calm down, that we feel overwhelmed and on the verge of breaking down ourselves.

By removing him from the scene and the environment where the problematic behavior took place, the young child is encouraged to reflect on what happenedto understand what caused the problem and to adopt a new behavior in accordance with the values ​​transmitted by his parents.

Child psychologists also explain that this Time Out allows calm things down on both sides : the child is angry, the parent is running out of solutions to manage him and manage his emotions. To prevent the situation from degenerating and ending up being violent verbally as well as physically, we therefore choose the option of isolation.

In the best-case scenario, the brat will be able to figure out the misbehavior. In the less “efficient” case, a crisis situation will have been avoided and defused. It is for this reason that child psychologists, including Caroline Goldman, defend the Time Out technique: according to them, it contributes to “just, respectful and structuring parental authority for children.” According to other professionals, it would even be effective in educating children suffering from ADHD! (Barkley program)

As in any educational model, there are many deviations and excesses. Thus, despite these positive opinions from childhood professionals, this method of education is not unanimous. For some, it even opposes the precepts of positive parenting. A point of view fueled in particular by the fact that the Council of Europewhich until then advocated time out, finally retracted and deemed it obsolete last year. So what should we think? The debate has begun !

Open-minded and in love with life, Emilie likes to decipher the new phenomena that shape society and relationships today. Her passion for the human being motivates her to write…

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