After thirty years, experts in child brain development no longer recommend discipline that includes punishments like shaming and blaming - presumably, indicative of time outs. For the first time, the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS), in a new position statement, is asking all primary care practitioners to encourage positive parenting.
It is a parenting philosophy developed by psychiatrists, Alfred Adler and Rudolf Dreikurs, and recently championed by Dr. Jane Nelson Ed.D. in her series of books elevating its popularity. Its premise highlights mutual respect and positive instruction.
What sets positive tools apart from punitive discipline is the way in which they are presented to a child, coupled with the intent of the parent in using the tools. Time in is the new time out, also dubbed, positive time out, is a powerful strategy gaining monumental regard as a progressive alternative.
Positive parenting focuses on learning, which influences the future rather than punishment which is relevant to the past. The Positive parenting tool, notably time in, is when a child that is having a difficult moment is kindly invited to sit somewhere, near a parent to express their feelings and eventually gain control. It is an opportunity for both parent and children to talk about the real issue at hand. In essence, it gives a child time to properly process a range of feelings.
It’s surmised that time outs do not help children regulate their emotions. Currently, medical professionals are making the shift toward helping parents distinguish that what they perceive as a young child misbehaving is more often a way for them to communicate, "I can't handle things right now. I need your help." Young children do not have enough development in the prefrontal cortex for reason to trump emotion and follow rules.
It’s imperative that when a child is struggling most, they should not be sent away to time out. It creates feelings of isolation, shame, and fear. Keeping a child at a distance often leads to a power struggle while trying to keep a child in time out.
A study done by the National Institute of Mental Health found that time outs are a temporary solution in terms of getting a child to cooperate. The children misbehaved more than children who weren’t disciplined with timeouts, even when their mothers took the time to talk with them afterward. Michael Chapman and Carolyn Zahn-Waxler, the authors of the study, concluded that the children were reacting to the perceived “love withdrawal” by misbehaving more.
The foundation of positive parenting emphasizes guidance and a caring presence when a child is struggling, more so than ever as children need love most when they appear to deserve it least, according to to Pam Leo, author of Connection Parenting.