Parenting Advice with John Rosemond: Time-outs are a weak punishment


Staff member
Parenting Advice with John Rosemond: Time-outs are a weak punishment -

For several reasons, I am not a fan of parenting magazines. First, they reinforce the impression that child-rearing is a very complicated affair, requiring consulting with “experts” on a regular basis (and yes, I am fully aware of the irony of that statement). Second, with every issue, said publications raise the Good Mommy Bar by giving women (their nearly exclusive consumers) more things to think about and more things to do. Third, they often render conflicting information and advice. Fourth, the advice they dispense is often just downright bad.

Regarding the latter, a case in point: An article in the April 2017, issue of Parents magazine purporting to tell parents how to properly use time-out. To put my remarks in perspective, I was one of the primary popularizers of time-out. During the early years of this syndicated column (1976 – 1990, roughly), I often recommended it and even hold the dubious distinction of coming up with the “one minute of time out for every year of a child’s age” formula.

Much to my chagrin, however, I eventually concluded that time-out worked only with children who were already well-behaved — obedient, respectful, responsible and so on. Said children only need occasional and relatively minor “adjustments,” which can include time-out. In and of itself, however, time-out is simply too weak a consequence to have significant impact on a child who does not fit that description — assuming that said child would even cooperate in sitting still for several minutes without being physically restrained (more on that shortly).


Ironic and interesting snippet.
Shame that there is no advice about what to do instead of a time out if you are dealing with a difficult child.


Shooting from the Hip
Yup... Time-Outs don't even work that well on well-behaved children. Honestly, they work better on me... I give myself one, regroup, then redirect. But that's an NT kid - Rose. Keeping a difficult child in time out - HA!

Each kid has their currency... But when we have our difficult children, their currency might result in an explosion rather than compliance.


Crazy Cat Lady
Time-outs didn't work with me, and I'm not NT. My problem was that I was constantly putting myself in time-out...often heading to time-out at a high rate of speed. Time-out places were preferably well-hidden, sometimes so well hidden that no one could find me.

I was probably the only kid around who loved being sent to her room, and I didn't have a TV or radio in my room. I did have lots of books, and my parents much preferred that I hightail off to my room to decompress and evaporate, as opposed to my either panicking or turning into a semi-catatonic lump behind the living or dining room curtains.