Alternatives to Time Out (or more traditional forms of punishment...don't act like you don't know what I mean)

I might blog about parenting, but one thing you'll never see me post about is about my stance on spanking. We're all so different here, no point in inciting a riot.

I will admit, however, that I'm a firm beleiver in time outs, the Naughty Step (nothing to do with Stomp the Yard), and basically anything Supernanny recommends.

My latest bedtime read - 1,2,3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12 (exciting, I know), by Thomas W. Phelan, Ph.D., gives these options for alternatives when time out needs a time out of its own:

Earlier bedtime – More time for you and your honey. If you're not too tired.
No treat – But come on now...don't eat it in front of them, the way a certain parent I know once tried to do at Khors Bros. Ice Cream in Cape May. That's just wrong!
Cancelled playdate – Uhhh, not really helpful if the playdate's at someone else's place, though. For God's sake, please don't go and shoot yourself in the foot.
Loss of TV – Probably needs to go off anyway.
Loss of a toy – Make sure it's one they'll really miss. We've tried this with J. Jo only to hear her respond : "That's fine, I'll just play with (insert random toy name here) instead."

Yeah, the sass-o-meter is way high these days. I really need this list.
So wish me luck! I'll be sure to let you know how it works out.


Being Mama Daily said...

That is so funny!

I have an 11yo and a 6 yo and nothing affected the 11 yo when he was small, NOTHING. But now, those kids will jump through hoops, say extra prayers and do anything I ask - on time - if I say they can't have a snack.

A SNACK! Like, at school, during the 10 o'clock break (or whenever snack time is). WHO KNEW???

I think the key is, they don’t want to be outsiders; the only kids at the designated snack time without a bag-of-something.

Apparently when you are a child you can be ostracized about damn near anything.

cloudscome said...

So what do you do if you are trying to drive and get to work on time and they (four YO and 21 months) are screaming and hitting each other in the back seat (in their car seats, no less)? Can't really do a time out there, can you? And they are too young to get the threat of no treat after school (eight hours later...) OR what if it's bedtime and they are suposed to be going to sleep and won't stay in bed? Time out doesn't work then, and I am not going to offer/deny treats then. I am stumped with these two.

kim said...


Scream back. I'm telling you, it works. turn your head from side to side, and wail!

Turns out, and I did not know this when I did it with my oldest two, my mother also did this with us. She cracks up just thinking about it.

At night: this tiny female pediatrician suggested we hold the doorknob from the outside for thirty minutes at bedtime, and do it consistently for a week. When they get the idea that no matter how hard they tug, they will not get out, they'll have the Pavlovian response of looking at the knob from their side, and thinking, "I can't open that, better lie down and go to sleep."

I told her she was out of her mind.


One does have to learn about punishing one's self when one really means to stick it to the kiddo, yes?

Keith said...

The parenting community is very divided on this issue. Heck, I know households divided on this issue. I've been called out on a number of occasions by people that like to assume what type a of disciplinarian I am. Like you Mrs. J, I'm not going there, but I do prefer the suggestions you posted.

Christopher Chambers said...

This is from my father (I am 43 years old by the way), not me:

"How come swatting someone in their little behind is off the table?"

Liz said...

Having been raised in the shoe, belt, broomstick and extension cord realm of things myself, I now have to hear my own mother, former proprietress of the above objects of pain infliction, say she thinks spanking, swatting or, ahem, beating a child is just absolutely wrong. Now she just LOVES timeout.

Personally, I go for:

"I'm gonna put you in your room and turn out the light." But that only works at night...and I'll probably put them in therapy by doing it.

cloudscome said...

You are right, I do usually try those things. Screaming helps only a little. Ignoring it works better when I can manage it. "Ignore Uproar, Reward Pleasantness" is my mantra. I just need to be consistent and patient and know when a hug will calm the waters and get us back on track. Each of my three sons are so different, they need a finely tuned response that I can only manage when I am getting enough sleep. Thanks for the encouragement!

Mom2One said...

We do this thing which is like a countdown of sorts with poker chips. If he gets up to 6 poker chips, it's NO TV, no videos, no DVDs for that evening. I swear, you would think we were beating the kid, the way he carries on if there's nothing to watch that evening. On Sunday he got up to 5 before we left for church and then was pretty good the rest of the day.

We actually do this before the time out. Time outs are more of a punishment for our son than just about anything else because he really hates to be alone.

We've taken toys away too. During a particularly trying time, I had a whole grocery bag filled up with toys I took away from him.

Oh, the joys of noncorporal punishment! It's exhausting, but I think over the long haul, worth it.

Anonymous said...

2 cents re: 1 2 3 Magic -- a friend and I both tried that with our kids (4, 5 and 6 years old)starting when they were toddlers. We had more success when we modified it into counting down from 5. The 2 additional counts gave our kids the extra seconds they needed to get it together. It's working so far!