Parents are an essential part of a child’s life. Their role is not an easy one. They are the ones who guide their children in learning right from wrong. Without effective parents, children are in a world that functions on the same rules as bumper-cars: everything goes, the bully dominates, and nobody becomes self-governing, contributing members of society.
The world would have your children believe that they are wiser than their parents. Many movies and Saturday cartoons center on children who solve crimes, triumph over the bad guy, and save their parents, or even the world. They are being taught a false reality.
Truth: Children do not know better. They need parents who care enough to be in control.
Remember that the family is an organization—don’t put the least competent members in charge. Time-out is a consequence for breaking rules that also establishes the parent as the wise leader.
Rules of Time-out: (First, state clearly what they did wrong, then remind them of the rules.) During time-out
- Nothing is going on.
- There is nothing the child can do about it.
This is not a parental ego-trip. It is essential for your child that they have a parent who is in charge and will guide them through the foundational learning years.
Studies have found that a child in time-out will experience the same stages of ‘change based loss’ that a person who is in mourning goes through. For time-out to work, a parent MUST IGNORE each of these except the final one.
- Denial. In this stage some children will ‘cop an attitude:’ “You’re putting me in time-out? I don’t think so. I don’t do time-out.” Some will pretend they enjoy time-out. “This is great. I like time-out. I needed the break. Thank you for giving me time-out.”
- Anger. The whole purpose of their getting angry is to get you, the parent to react. The minute you react time-out ends, because of rule no. 1: During time-out nothing is going on. They get angry, you respond, time-out just lost it’s effectiveness. Some basic anger ploys to watch for:
- The child removes a shoe and sock. They know you went to a lot of work to put them on them, they are exerting their authority by taking them off while they are angry.
- They may claim, “I don’t love you.” Let it wash on by. It’s still just a tatic.
- They may resort to an obscenity. Perhaps flip you off. This is hard for good parents to ignore. They want to ‘lay down the law’ (explain clearly) that such things do not happen in their home. But if you respond to the obscenity, they child just got you to react and time-out was rendered useless. The obscenity then worked just like they wanted. Essentially, responding at this point reinforces the use.
- Bargain. They will offer anything. “I’m feeling so sad all by myself in this lonely corner mom, I promise to be good.” Don’t give in. What seems sincere now, will, within a couple of years, become a catch phrase that works to end time-out quickly.
- Grieving. They may cry or show other signs of depression. Hang on. You’ve almost made it. Joe Newman, the author of Raising Lions, has a set time for time-outs, but the time-out does not start until the child has stopped crying.
- Acceptance. The final step is when the child has finally accepted “the new world order” where the parents are in charge. Now they can learn.
Next post I discuss why The More Parents talk the Less Children learn.