Disciplining the child via “Time-In”

Posted on - in Motherhood

While browsing through the Internet, I stumbled upon a post about time-outs not being an effective way to discipline a child when he or she does something that’s not good. Some parents use time-outs when disciplining/punishing their kids by putting them in a corner where they can “think about what they did.” In the article, it says that instead of the child pondering about the wrong thing he or she committed, time-outs make him or her feel more isolated. The message that comes across is “I’m only interested in being with you and being there for you when you’ve got it all together.”

Reading that surprised me, because I thought of implementing time-outs at home whenever my daughter would do something wrong. I felt it was better than spanking her (it always hurts me when I spank my little one). Little did I know that time-outs can make kids believe that they are less loved by their parents when they commit mistakes.

To tell you the truth, I did try giving Zee a time-out recently. We ended up with a lot of struggle and frustration. And a lot of crying on her part, too. Now I know why she felt that way — she probably thought that punishing her with a time-out made her feel less loved (probably even unloved) by me.

I don’t want my daughter to feel that way. But I want to discipline her so that she’d behave better in and outside the house. How do I do that?

Interestingly, I discovered another disciplining style while reading about the effects of time-outs. It’s what’s called time-ins. It’s somewhat the opposite of a time-out: instead of putting your child in a corner when he or she does something bad, you connect with him or her with compassion.

This post from Aha Parenting further notes that when your child is acting up, there is a reason behind his or her cranky mood and behavior. It’s just that the child has difficulty in verbally expressing what he or she is currently feeling and thus resort to throwing tantrums.

When that happens, the first instinct of a parent is to be immediately on the defensive, but the article says you must realize that his or her action is actually a cry for help. So instead of getting angry or upset about him or her throwing things or throwing a fit, you can choose to approach the child with compassion and connect with him or her physically — probably a snuggle or a hug. Stay calm throughout the time-in and let the child sort out his or her feelings during that time.

Time-in is not a punishment. It’s a way of meeting your child’s needs so he doesn’t have to act out. Specifically, you’re giving him the connection that’s essential so he can regulate himself. And you’re helping him process his big emotions, so he’s ready to problem-solve and repair.

Actually, while reading the article, I thought of the times my daughter was in a foul mood and my mom (her lola) would be able to calm her down without spanking her. Somehow, it made me think and realize: maybe a gentler, calmer approach or discipline style is what Zee needs.

Hmm, I’m thinking about doing time-ins instead of time-outs or corporal punishment whenever my daughter would do something bad. Of course, I’ll have to try to control my temper and emotions, too, so that I would be able to reach out to her more whenever she’ll have tantrums. Maybe, just maybe, she will respond to this approach better.


  1. Yam Yam

    A seminar was recently held in our office with Anthony Pangilinan and he touched the subject on the differences or uniqueness of every person… His wife, Maricel Laxa has a PhD on i think child psychology (if i remember correctly) he tells us that all discipline strategies work, it just depends on the child’s personality. For example, face the wall consequences work with one (the child reacts with crying and all that) while with the other child, he just thinks about things, sings to himself and it does not work. It seems that the first child is an extrovert and does not like the quietness of a wall, while the other is an introvert and facing the wall for him is fine because he likes keeping to himself. the idea of being loved or not loved is a matter of how a parent would explain the punishment/consequences of their actions which does not mean we do not love them, it just means, we want to correct wrong deeds because we love them. I had the same experience with my two nieces. the eldest cried to high heavens and realized her mistake upon telling her why she was made to face the wall, and she knows we love her, (we made sure we tell her that we love her and explained our course of action over her misdeeds) while her younger sister, she just kept quiet the entire time she faced the wall and could not even apologize for her mistake. It showed the difference in personality and how they take things in, how they think, how they cope. Thus, a point of discipline, does not necessarily mean that it is applicable to all children, just like adults, we have different ways of coping and reacting. Through my MA education course, we also learned that one student, does not react the same way as another on how teachers teach, so we have to learn to identify how one student will be able to respond or respond the way we want them or learn what we want them to learn, may it be behavioral or theoretical.

    8 years ago
    • Michelle Roldan

      Thanks for this insight! It’s true, every child is different so there’s no real single formula on how to discipline them. My daughter’s my first-born, that’s why everyday is like an experiment on how to discipline her (for me and hubby at least, hehe!). I’ve been given advice, read articles on child rearing… I guess you can say that at this stage (she’s 5 years old now), I’m still looking for ways to effectively communicate to her that she’s done something wrong and that we are disciplining her because we love her and we want her to grow up to be a good person. Pretty sure we’ll eventually find a disciplining style that’s effective on her (without both parties having to struggle between tears and shouting, I hope). It’s a constant learning experience for me as a parent. 😀

      8 years ago

Leave a Reply

Comment away!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.