New research has dismissed the negative impact on children caused by the debatable discipline technique known as a time-out. The age-old method for boosting discipline and etiquettes in a child, time-outs have often been believed to have a long-term negative influence on the behavioral traits of children. It involves keeping the child away from the environment where they've misbehaved. The parent ensures that the area's dull and away from any distractions such other siblings, the television, toys, or any other objects that a child could use to irritate you.
Recent research was conducted on kids whose parents reported using time-outs and those not using time-outs for eight years. The result, however, showed no difference.
"Some reports in the media and by select organizations have suggested that time-out is ineffective and even harmful," says lead author Rachel Knight, Ph.D., a pediatric psychologist at the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital.
Researchers analyzed national data from the Early Head Start Research and Evaluation study tracking families at three different time points. The three time-points were 36-months-old, pre-kindergarten, and fifth graders, who were all evaluated for their social skills, mental health, and behavioral aspects with their parents. There was no link found between time-outs and negative symptoms developing in childhood like nervousness, unhappiness, emotional turmoil, aggression, rule-breaking behavior or self-control, according to the findings in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.
'Time-outs' at home not associated with long-term negative effects in children https://t.co/1EpO35sBrx— fedium (@fedium_news) September 13, 2019
“There are some alarming claims that time-outs can damage the parent-child relationship and negatively affect emotional health. But the research simply doesn't support those claims. We did not find a relationship between time-outs and negative side effects in children," Knight said.
Social media or internet create this major dilemma because parents turn to these sources to decide if they're doing the right thing for their child. A previous study found that about 30 percent of websites believe that time-out does harm to their children. The debate was recently reignited by an article published in Time Magazine called "Are Time-Outs Hurting Your Children?"
Yet on the other hand, Kinght says that time-outs are considered to be one of the only child discipline strategies recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The organization say that this strategy is effective in addressing behavior challenges across several ages, including infants, toddlers, school-age children and adolescents. Knight adds that consistency, structure, a calm demeanor and a positive environment are keys to effectively using time-outs.
There's also an immediate need to convey this message to parents so that they don't get misled from websites claiming the opposite.
“As we further our understanding about how different parenting strategies impact children, we need to present findings in an easily digestible and accessible way for the public," Knight explained.
This can be considered as one of the significant challenges that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. She feels that as researchers, they'll have to debunk misconceptions and foster the practice of effective, evidence-based strategies to guide parents and families for the progress and benefit of their child.