Time-out: The Best Response For Aggressive Behavior
If you have a child who hits, kicks, pushes, or bites, by all means don't spank him. Spanking just teaches him that it's all right to hit, as long as you're bigger or stronger. Although reasoning and negotiation are the most civilized discipline techniques, they don't work with young children.
What you're looking for is time-out:
- First: Time-out teaches your child a peaceful way of problem solving. By contrast, spanking teaches him to lash out when angry. What you want to teach is that aggression is unacceptable. To accomplish that, you have to give up hitting first.
- Second: Time-out leaves your child feeling a little bit guilty, and a little guilt is needed for the normal formation of a conscience. If you spank him, he ends up feeling angry.
- Third: Time-out gives your child a chance to think about what he did wrong. When you give a time-out correctly, you're teaching your child how to stop and think. That's why some parents call it "thinking time".
If you have other questions about time-out, consult your healthcare provider.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 6/1/2008
Last Revised: 6/1/2000
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.