Should Kids Ever Give Parents a Time-Out?

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Playing Parent’s Controversial Time-Out Technique?

The Doctors welcome parenting expert Dr. Deborah Gilboa to weigh in on a controversial parenting technique where a child gives the parent a time-out when the adult is not listening. Should your little one ever get this kind of power?

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Dr. Gilboa discourages this type of tactic and notes that young kids do not actually want this type of power in the long run. Instead, she says it would great for a parent to model this behavior and tell the child they need a moment to themselves to calm down and be a better listener, but she does not think allowing a child to dictate a time-out is ever effective. 

With teens and tweens, she says it is great to have them communicate to the parent if they feel the parent is speaking to them in a respectful manner, but she says even at this age, the child should never be dictating discipline for a parent.

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She notes that children need to understand early how a strong foundation is built between the parent and the child and that a parent is the one who guides behavior, not the other way around.

As for when a time-out is an effective form of discipline for kids, Dr. Gilboa says a time-out is meant "to teach self-regulation skills" and should illustrate how mindfulness and allowing oneself to take a few moments and walk away from a situation is vital and very effective. She says a time-out even as short as 1 minute can be very helpful for most children. 

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