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One of the most terrifying sentences that can be invoked upon a child under 10 years of age. Sure, it seems like a joke now, but when you're 8 and 3/4 years old, it's torture. TORTURE! When you have that much energy, being forced to sit still, not moving, well, it seems like some kind of cruel sensory removal experiment gone hideously wrong.

And you sit.

And sit.


If you were old enough to tell time, you'd notice the curious fact that, when sitting alone with nothing but your thoughts, time slows down. Of course, you don't know that yet.

And you're still sitting.

And your bum begins to hurt.

And your eyes go wonky from looking at nothing but a flat latex painted wall.

And it's too much.

You can't take it.

You begin to cry. Just like that whining baby, your 7 year old brother.

Then your parents relent, seeing your emotional outburst, thinking you are truly sorry. They tell you to go out and play.

Sorry? Not sorry, your backside just hurt.

It may be a frightening thing for a child to hear but as a matter of practice this is one of the worst punishments you can lay on a kid. Why?

It simply does not work, that’s why. More often than not it is as much a time out for the parent as it is for the kid. Any kid over the age of 4 will learn that if they make just enough of a movement in the corner a parent will have to stand there for the full time and administer to the punishment. In the end this reinforces a sense of power over the situation to the kid and frustration to the parent.

To truly get a decent outcome from a time out like this you need to structure it around a task that does not need constant monitoring. For instance, if your child is at all self aware you can have them stand out on the porch for a certain amount of time. If they throw a fit it is only witnessed by the people outside, strangers and neighbors, and in their own minds loose face. They can not control the situation. Another tact is to have them work in the yard on some simple task, puling weeds is a good one that works for me.

If you are going to spend the time to personally monitor the time out then at least make it educational. I have had my kid read to me for a set amount of time. More often than not she doesn’t want to stop because she is enjoying the act of reading. This has had the effect of her not acting out as much and instead asking to read to us.

In the end you need to know your kid well enough to know what is causing the outburst and what they respond to best to learn different ways of expressing their emotions.

And if ths sounds easy, go get a kid:)-

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