Lots of parents rely on “time-outs” as a discipline technique. I don’t mind time-outs, if they are applied the Adlerian way. However, I want to offer up an alternate solution. You can add this one to your parenting toolbox for times when time-outs are not working: MOVE YOU INSTEAD.
I don’t mean “Mommy is going to put herself in a time out to calm down before she acts badly.” I am referring to impacting the dynamics by excusing yourself from being the audience of your child’s disturbances. If you have a child who is a powerhouse, you’ll only make matters worse if you try to remove them from the dinner table for a time out when they start acting up.
Try this instead: “I’d love to stay and have dinner with you, can you calm yourself or do I need to find another place to eat?” If they continue on, simply say. “When things are calm I will join you again.” Take your plate and calmly move yourself to eat in another room.
The idea is that you can’t MAKE them use table manners and be calm, but the benefit of using our society rules for meal-sharing is that people enjoy eating with you. Because children are social creatures, they do want your company and will be intrinsically motivated to adopt our table customs because they benefit from your company.
Remember, when things are calm and you return to the table, it’s bygones! Don’t discuss their behavior; just get on with engaging positively.
Cooperative table behaviors – everyone stays together. Disturbing table behaviors – mommy goes. They’ll figure it out quickly, sans fights and lectures.
About the Author:
Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada’s most notable parenting experts. She is the resident expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News Channel and CBC’s The World This Weekend. Alyson is an “Ask an Expert” Columnist for Today’s Parent Magazine, and sits on the Health Advisory Board for Chatelaine Magazine. Alyson is the best selling author of “Breaking The Good Mom Myth” and “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids” and her latest, “Ain’t Misbehavin”. She is an international speaker including the inaugural TEDxKids in Brussels and offers free parenting tips at www.alysonschafer.com