Most parents I know use some form of "time-out" as a part of their discipline repertoire. However, many parents don't use time-outs the correct and most effective way. (The article starts on page 8 of that PDF.)

So just what are the key behavioral factors of time-out that help it succeed as a discipline strategy with children and, when absent, doom it to fail? The discussion below highlights the main components that influence the effectiveness of time-out for behavior change in children. These components are based on the initial behavioral underpinnings of Ferster,the behavioral literature in general, as well as on the clinical experience of the present authors.

Two things I learned:

  • Warnings are very counter-productive. I need to stop warning my kids and simply put them in time-out as soon as they begin misbehaving.
  • Don't lecture. The point of the time-out is to withhold attention, not deliver a lecture. The punishment should be as close in proximity as possible to the misbehavior.

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