Before having children, I'd caught many an episode of the UK's Super Nanny and made mental notes of the effective use of reward charts and the 'time out' or naughty step that seemed to be a great non violent discipline method. Since having kids, and having put certain strategies into play, I still marvel at the effectiveness of the reward chart, of positive reinforcements and when needed, how a time out can be great to discipline and to calm down a particularly fraught child.
Lately, I've noticed an increase in the number of articles disagreeing with the use of 'time outs' for a myriad of reasons including children feeling abandoned, humiliated and over time having a decreased self esteem. As with many parenting topics, there are pros and cons with however you choose to parent, and I tend to go with what works for the personalities of my children, and my own style.
Do you give time outs to your children (or have you), and do you see any harm from this method?
I think time outs are a great form of discipline and I don't agree with those who criticise it. The whole point is that the child should feel left out because they have done wrong, and that is the punishment. If they behave then they don't get left out of things. How are you meant to discipline a child if there aren't consequences to bad behaviour?
I don't like time out at all. I have never used it with my son and I chose his pre-school on the basis that they also don't use time out but time in.
I think it's important to teach a child that even when you don't like their behaviour you still love them and are there for them. So when something happens that is less than ideal (!) we cuddle and talk about it. If he is too angry or upset for that, then I will just hold him until he has calmed down, usually with some skin contact if I can, then we will talk about it.
I want my son to grow up with the ability to work out the best way to behave in a situation for himself and not just to do the right thing because he's scared he will be punished if he behaves otherwise.
Discipline means to teach, not to punish!
I think you have to parent the best you can knowing your own child and what works for them. There's pros and cons with everything and if you see your child suffering severe affects from different methods you try then obviously you adjust them to suit.
I always preferred to see it as quiet time. Children misbehave for all sorts of reasons, and we know ourselves that when we get angry, aggressive or argumentative, the best way to get out of it is to remove ourselves from the situation for a while to calm down. Quiet time - or time alone - should be a positive experience, not a punishment as such. Instead of being made to sit in a corner and stew, this time can be used for calming activities like reading, colouring-in or writing a 'sorry' note. This time to reflect is much more valuable and more effective for helping a child channel their emotions positively. It worked best for my 3 children, and they turned out fine! :)