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A study found that using time-outs does not have any detrimental effects on children.
A time-out is a form of discipline wherein a child who misbehaves is isolated at a certain place for a period of time. Evidence shows that having a time-out is an effective way to correct behavioral problems in children. However, the media and several organizations perceive time-outs as ineffective and harmful to children.
According to a study by University of Michigan researchers, time-outs do not make children anxious or violent. The study’s results further showed that there are no significant emotional and behavioral differences between children who experienced time-outs while growing up and those who did not. Both groups displayed the same levels of anxiety, depression, and self-discipline.
To obtain the study’s results, the researchers followed about 1,400 families and observed their parenting styles for eight years. The participating children were observed at three stages: at three, five, and 10 years old. The researchers assessed the participants’ social skills, psychological well-being, and behavior toward parents using interviews, observations, and video recordings.
Because the study relied mostly on observation, the researchers believe that their findings are not conclusive, and the subject matter needs further investigation.
According to the study’s lead author, Rachel Knight, time-outs are often misunderstood or used incorrectly. She asserts that the method can be very helpful if used properly. Time-outs should be executed with calmness, consistency, and careful planning. Parents should also explain to their children beforehand the purpose of time-outs and never use the strategy in the heat of the moment.
In addition, Knight reminded parents that praising children who behave well is just as important as correcting misbehaving ones.