Does Time Out Work?
A really popular parenting tool is time out. Here’s the problem, kids from hard places who have already been discarded, neglected or abused- time out just reinforces some beliefs:
- you don’t matter
- you’re not valuable
- I’m going to separate myself from you
What they need instead is time in. What is time in? When a child is dysregulated, he needs to be beside you so you can co-regulate. Instead of sending him away, you keep him beside you. Keep them 2 or 3 feet away on a chair (or on the floor) until they calm down. When the child is calm, have a quick conversation and move on. This is a great chance for a redo (post on that here). You are looking for connection. Parents have an opportunity to connect after the child calms down. Our goal is build relationships. These kiddos were harmed through relationship and they will be healed through relationship.
Time out often breeds violent behaviors because the child needs someone to help them regulate.
Beside me jobs.
This simply means keeping the child beside you while you do chores. Let the child talk. She may put one dish in the dishwasher to your ten, it’s okay. This time of connection grows during this time. Beside me jobs, shoulder to shoulder allows the kiddo to spend time with you. During this time you are helping them regulate. The fruit of years of beside me jobs is a child is able to sort things through conversation. Not only that, but a child will mirror your behavior (see post on that here). If you are enjoying your chore and her company, she will eventually do the same.
Here’s a video from The Whole House Adoption/Foster Care Support Group on the subject. Comment if you would like to join or find us on Facebook!