If you have more than one child, you've either been there, or will be. It's about 3 o'clock, and they're arguing, again. I've been told that often the closest siblings will argue the most, because they care so much. But, to be honest, when it's the umpteenth time I've had to play referee, I could care less why they're doing it, I just want them to stop.
In fact, I may need a time-out.
Time-out is great for when I'm about to blow a gasket because they've taken food into the playroom again, or they just don't want to come upstairs when they've been asked, or they won't clean up the playroom when they're supposed to, or for any one of a hundred reasons that I may be about to lose my temper.
My temper is scary. It scares me, sometimes when I get angry. And if I yell, I know it scares my kids. Reagan (12) reminded me of that, just recently. He's bigger than I am now, but if I raise my voice, I actually frighten him. That is not what I want to use to reach my children.
A time-out allows me to regain my patience, think through how I want to handle things, and approach the kids in a way that is much more likely to make an impact.
I do use time-outs with the kids also. This seems to be a somewhat controversial idea among genle moms, some of whom view it as punitive. And in fairness, it's not all I use. I really love it when my kids can see natural or logical consequences for their actions. But I find that time-out is sometimes what they need for all the same reasons I do. It allows them to break from the activity and stimulus that was causing a problem and sort of reset.
I've found that I can even use time-out for objects. Fighting over that ball again? Maybe the ball needs a time-out so that it will stop creating problems. Suddenly, fighting over the toys seems less like a good idea.
Seriously, I think time-out is a wonderful thing. And one of the best tools I have. Especially if I can get a good cup of tea with it.