An introduction to American style discipline – “time-out”

2016.06.30

There are a lot of imitable aspects of American free-style thinking that we can pick-up.

One of those aspects is the form of discipline called “time-out”, which is used frequently by many American families.

What is “time-out”?

One example of “time-out” is when a sports coach stops the game and calls all the players over to go over a new strategy.
However, American parents also use this form a discipline when their child does something they should not do.
It is a way for them to take their child aside and make them think about what they did wrong.

For example, if your child continues to perform an activity that you have told them over and over again to stop doing, it is sometimes a good idea to take them aside.
After they have sit down in a quiet environment and go over what they did in the mind, many times they will be ready to apologize. This is American-style “time-out”.

How is “time-out” used?

As Japanese parents, we believe that it is best to scold our children when they have done something wrong right away, even if we are out in public.

However, Americans believe that it is best to take the child aside and scold them out of the direct eye of their peers and their families.
They let their child know that they are getting a “time-out” and tell them they should take the time to think about what they did. They sit the child down in a place that is in eyes distance from them and give them some time to themselves.
It is important to have the child sit somewhere where they can see you and not lock them in a room.
Children who are 3 years old get 3 minutes and children who are 5 years old get 5 minutes of “time-out”.

To children, this 3 or 5 minutes feels like eternity and they often hate it, which makes this type of discipline very effective.

Why is “time-out” effective?

As Japanese parents, we have a tendency to believe that giving children the time to think about what they did on their own is not effective.
As a result, we end up scolding them emotionally.
However, children are often scared of their parents when they get angry at them, which makes it difficult for them to think about their actions.

By giving them a “time-out”, children will be able to step away from the situation and have the time to think about what they did in a calm environment.
If a parent explains their reasoning for giving a “time-out” quietly children will have another opportunity to reflect on their actions.

“Time-out” has many benefits for parents

Giving your child “time-out” allows parents who usually scold their children in an emotional manner the time to step away for the environment and calm down. Children who are often scolded by their parents end up rebelling against them.
However, if parents are calm when scolding their children, the children are more likely to listen to them and form a better relationship with them.

As parents, we often regret scolding our children.
The next time your child does something he/she shouldn’t do please try using “time-out” and give yourself and your child the time and space to calm down and your child the time to think about what they did wrong.
This will help your relationship in the long run.

  • GYMBO friends