Showing posts with label effective discipline. Show all posts
Showing posts with label effective discipline. Show all posts

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Is Time-Out bad for children?

Time-Out has been used by parents and educators for decades. However, the effective procedure has gotten a bad reputation online.

What does the evidence say about time-out? 

Rachel M. Knight and her team of researchers (2019) looked at long-term data that tracked children from Early Head Start with assessments at three time periods: Age 0 - 3 years, prekindergarten, and fifth grade. The measures examined emotional and behavioral functioning as well as parent-child relationships.

What were the results? 

"Analyses for all outcome variables suggest no significant difference for children whose parents reported using time-out versus those who did not."

And their conclusion?

"Parental reported use of time-out was not associated with long-term negative outcomes. Further research in this area is necessary to continue to address the multitude of concerns related to time-out that are presented by the media."

Journal Link Online (published 11 September 2019 online before the print version)


Learn more about evidence-based discipline in Discipline with Respect.

You can read a press release with quotes from other clinicians at this BBC link.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Chores, Tasks, & Responsibility

In Discipline with Respect, Chapter 1, "The Principle of Purpose," I discuss the importance of building responsible behavior with tasks and responsiblities appropriate for a child's age. It does take more time than doing a job yourself, but parenting includes helping children become mature and responsible adults.

I recently saw a post from the American Counseling Association (ACA) about chores. The suggestions are similar to mine.

Here's a quote from their post.

Having  your kids do assigned chores can be an important factor in helping them develop in positive ways. Chores are a way for a child to feel part of the family, and to gain a sense of contributing toward the family good. These early life lessons make it easier for a person to feel like an active, contributing member of society later in life.

And here is the link to the ACA blog so you can read their Jan 05, 2018 post about  the value of having children complete chores.

Happy Parenting!

Read more about evidence-based discipline strategies in Discipline with Respect -- A book used by schools and recommended by professionals. 

Available on AMAZON Kindle and in paperback.

See the Discipline with Respect website for more information.

Get a FREE sample at AMAZON 

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Full link to the ACA post about "chores."'t-make-you-a-bad-person

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Why did she do that?

When children misbehave, we want to know why they do what they do. But often, children do not know why they did whatever they did.

When we ask children why questions, we may be thinking two things:

    1. I don’t want you (child) to do that again.

    2. I want to know how to help you (child) behave differently in the future.

We may genuinely want to know why a child lost her temper, hit another child, broke something valuable, has difficulty finishing homework, keeps forgetting various items, and many other things.

Answers to why questions can be deceptive. A child may say “I forgot” or “She hit me.” A parent may suspect a child is tired or upset because a child missed out on an activity due to misbehavior or even an interfering event like severe weather.

People in a community may have many explanations for children’s behavior such as deficiencies in various supplements, life events like a divorce or birth of a sibling, birth order, and so forth. Some explain behavior as a matter of bad choices.

Sometimes parents consult psychologists who may suggest the reasons for some behaviors are linked to learning disabilities or the biochemistry associated with conditions like ADHD.

The truth is, we often do not know what causes a behavior in a specific child. There may be more than one cause for any given behavior or behavior pattern. As with many things in life, it is often best to focus on the desired outcome.

Ask not why children behave as they do. 
Ask what your children will do differently next time. 

Ensure they have a clear idea about appropriate behavior and help them achieve that goal using one or more effective discipline techniques.

We usually don’t want our children to answer a why question with something like, “I guess my dopamine levels were low.”

We can avoid helping children search for reasons that can become excuses by focusing on what questions. 

Here are three examples of what questions.

  • What did you do?
  • What rule did you break (if one was broken)?
  • What should you do differently next time?

Read more about evidence-based discipline strategies in Discipline with Respect -- A book used by schools and recommended by professionals. 

Available on AMAZON Kindle and in paperback.

See the Discipline with Respect website for more information.

Get a FREE sample at AMAZON 

There may be biopsychological explanations for some behavioral difficulties but most children won't know those "reasons" for their behavior. In addition, we usually want to help children learn adaptive behavior even when they have conditions that make it more difficult for them than for other children.

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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Setting Goals Builds Self-Discipline

In Discipline with Respect, I recommend parents set goals after identifying the behavioral lessons they would like their children to learn by a certain age. Setting goals is a good idea for adults and children. When parents set goals, they also serve as role models for their children.

Anytime is a good time to set goals. So, if you are reading this at the beginning of a year or at another time, the psychological value of goal-setting remains important to helping people make achievable life-changes.

Daphna Oyeserman (USC) and her team studied the effects of measuring time on planning for a future event like saving for retirement. It turns out that the way participants “framed” time influenced their plans to take action. Instead of thinking in terms of years, it might be best to think in terms of days (Psychological Science). And its best to think in terms of months rather than years.

Parents can apply this kind of thinking to behavioral goals. For example, if you want your child to develop financial responsibility by age 16 and your child just turned 12, you might think 4-years is far in the future—and you have plenty of time. But if you think in terms of days (1,465), you might be more inclined to make a list of tasks to improve the odds your teen will have the self-discipline and other skills crucial to responsible financial behavior. Fortunately, many parents help children develop responsible financial behavior before age 12. Unfortunately, some children grow up with a limited understanding.

There are other factors to help adults and children reach their goals. As I mention in Discipline with Respect, goals should be realistic, specific, measurable, and dated. I also recommend working on only 2-3 goals at a time.

1. Realistic goals are those a person can reach with additional effort and encouragement. Most of us can increase our exercise by a small percentage of steps or minutes, decrease our consumption of sugar treats, increase our savings by a small percentage, help one additional person, and so forth.

2. Specific goals are stated in precise language such as units of money saved, pounds of weight lost or gained, words written, pages read, days of temper outbursts, or steps walked.

3. Measuring progress is easy for those goals having natural units as mentioned above. Other goals may require some additional thought. You may come up with a quality rating instead of a concrete number. For example, you could ask for feedback on the quality of a quilting project from expert quilters. I often ask for feedback on my writing projects, which helps me gauge how close I am to reaching publication quality before submitting a paper to a journal editor. The chapter on feedback can help parents give specific feedback to children on their behavior.

4. Finally, we help ourselves when we attach a date to a goal. As suggested in the research study above, we might be better to think in terms of days rather than years. Parents and teachers can help children by thinking in terms of 90 days to complete a project.

You may be able to tell from this post that Discipline with Respect is about developing responsible behavior. Although I discuss the usual principles of how to use consequences in discipline programs, I view discipline as education—all the things we do to help children become mature, responsible, and respectful adults.

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Thursday, December 28, 2017

Discipline with Respect Includes Time Out

Some argue against the use of Time Out discipline strategies despite scientific evidence of its effectiveness. Some criticisms of time out are justified. Discipline with Respect involves a commitment to a long-term loving parent-child relationship.

Used correctly, time out is a brief time away from a pleasant activity as a consequence for a child’s unacceptable socially aggresive or destructive behavior. In Discipline with Respect and other programs, parents and educators learn that time out is one of many strategies to help children learn to follow basic rules in home and school settings. The emphasis in Discipline with Respect and other parenting programs is always on creating a positive setting where children are encouraged to be a part of family and peer activities sometimes referred to as “time in.”

Parents and teachers explain time out in advance so children understand the purpose of a brief time away from activities and where they will spend that short period of time. It is best not to discuss the time out procedure or the problem behavior with a child who has not responded to a warning. Discussions can lead to escalation. Discussing the misbehavior can occur after the time out consequence if there is doubt the child does not see the connection between the aggressive behavior and the time out consequence.

Most time out guidelines suggest using about one minute in time out per year of age so 5-minutes for a child age 5 and 10 minutes for a ten-year-old.

Time out is more effective when children are in a chair or sitting on a mat away from the activity where they misbehaved. Time out is more effective when children are not playing with toys or doing other fun activities.

Time out is more effective when children calm briefly before they return to their previous activities.

Encourage positive interactions when the child returns to their activities.

Researchers find time out helps reduce both physical and verbal aggression and destructive behavior in many settings. Again, time out is only one strategy and should be used in the context of an overall positive program. Like other strategies, time out will not always be effective with every child.

Time out is not a strategy for every type of misbehavior. The focus of research is on using time out to interrupt aggressive and destructive behavior, which is often accompanied by anger. The risk of not using time out or other effective strategies is that children will continue to be aggressive as they grow older. Some may be concerned about repressing anger but that concern is not supported by evidence. Parents and teachers can teach the appropriate way to express anger within their culture—for example, using words and taking constructive action.

Some parenting sources advocate holding aggressive children but this is controversial. Parents and other care givers find it difficult to safely and effectively hold aggressive children.

Those who focus only on positive approaches to discipline help engender an attitude of respect. However, most find that effective discipline needs to include consequences for severe misbehavior. For an academic review of research on time out, see the Morawska and Sanders (2011) reference.

Morawska, A., & Sanders, M. (2011). Parental use of time out revisited: A useful or harmful parenting strategy?. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 20(1), 1-8. doi:10.1007/s10826-010-9371-x
Shriver, M. D., & Allen, K. D. (1996). The time-out grid: A guide to effective discipline. School Psychology Quarterly, 11(1), 67-75. doi:10.1037/h0088921

Sutton, G. W. (2018). Discipline with Respect in Caring Relationships. Sunflower Press. Available from Amazon.

Discipline with Respect Website

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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Video Gaming and Behavior

The World Health Organization (WHO) considers some forms of video gaming to be an unhealthy condition. The problem lies in "persistent or recurrent" patterns of gaming and has the following three features (U S News, 2017):

"1) impaired control over gaming (e.g., onset, frequency, intensity, duration, termination, context);

2) increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities; and

3) continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences."

Like other disorders, the condition needs to be severe, which is usually defined by duration-- in this case, 12 months. Severity also requires an evaluation of how much gaming interferes with other aspects of life--personal, family, social, education, occupational and so forth. Clinicians have some flexibility on the 12 month criterion when they think a condition is particularly severe.

Clearly, not everyone who plays a lot of video games has severe problems. Psychologists and psychiatrists avoid using terms like "addiction" because they are too vague and may suggest physiological dependence. But mental health clinicians do see youth and adults who spend so much time gaming that they have little time for relationships and other important aspects of life.

One US study of 1,178 youth ages 8 to 18 found that 8% had "pathological patterns" of gaming, which affected school performance (Gentile, 2009).

From a scientific perspective, psychological scientists have found a small and reliable link between using violent video games and aggressive behavior such as pushing and yelling. Studies do not support a link to more violent acts. 
“Attributing violence to video gaming is not scientifically sound and draws attention away from other factors, such as a history of violence, which we know from the research is a major predictor of future violence.”(See link for more APA 2020)

Several aspects of video games can influence child behavior. In Discipline with Respect, I identify two major areas for parents to consider when it comes to gaming and similar conditions. One potential problem is the role-model effect. That is, role models within video sources and those who model any undesirable behavior can influence children and youth (Chapter 3 ). Older siblings are often effective role models. The other problem with excessive gaming and similar activities is one of creating an unproductive or irresponsible "lifestyle," which I discuss in chapter 8 about the principle of substitution and the need to set boundaries.

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Monday, November 27, 2017

What About Spanking? A Recent Study

Parents either believe in the value of spanking or they don’t. Many young parents will be guided by scientific evidence but others will follow traditional practices, which often include spanking.

Psychological Science does not support the value of spanking. There is reasonable evidence linking parental spanking by age 5 to behavior problems at ages 6 and 8.

Here’s a quote from Dr. Gershoff of the University of Texas at Austin on findings from their recent study.
“Our findings suggest that spanking is not an effective technique and actually makes children’s behavior worse not better.”

Spanking, Ethics, and Research

The reason psychologists cannot speak with a certainty is that it is unethical to conduct experiments where children are randomly assigned to spanking and nonspanking parents.

Sample Size

The sample size was huge. Gershoff and her colleagues looked at the results from 12,112 children whose parents participated in the US Early Childhood Longitudinal Study.  After identifying those who spanked, the scientists formed a comparison group of parents who did not spank but were similar based on 38 parent and child characteristics such as gender, health, behavior problems, parent’s education, and their social-economic level. They looked at the size of the household and degree of conflict in the home. The also matched on age and marital status. The goal was to create two equivalent groups whose main difference was spanking or not spanking. Read more in the article--see link below.

Spanking: Survey Data

According to an ABCNEWS poll, 65% of U S parents support spanking. About half admit they spank their own children at time but most do not approve of spanking in schools-- 72% believe it should not be permitted.

There is a regional difference. More parents in the U S South (62%) spank than those who live elsewhere (41%).

Spanking also varies with a parent's education. Among those with college degrees, 38% spank but 55% of those with less than a college education spank.

There are no state laws that prohibit spanking in general. But 27 states have policies against spanking. At the time of the poll, spanking was permitted in schools in 23 states. 

What do parents do?

A study of parenting trends between 1988 and 2011 found that U S parents have used less physical discipline. For example, mothers with a median income, reported the use of physical punishment at 21% in 2011 compared to 46% in 1988.  So, what are parents doing? More parents are opting for timeouts and talking with children instead of spanking. (Strauss at Slate)

I should note that timeouts are also challenged. Here's a link to the timeout discussion. 

Technical notes
Surveys rely on self-report, which can be subject to positive impression management.
Large surveys (usually over 1,000) can reduce bias when there is an effort to ensure the sample is representative of a population.
Writers in leading publications write about timeout as one word or with a hyphen, time-out.

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