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Customer Review

18 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed that Pantley advocates time-out as punishment, 23 Mar. 2009
This review is from: The No-Cry Discipline Solution. Gentle Ways to Encourage Good Behaviour without Whining, Tantrums and Tears (UK Ed): Gentle ways to promote good ... General Reference General Reference) (Paperback)
I loved "The No-Cry Sleep Solution" but was disappointed to see that Pantley advocates time-out in this book. Although she does have a lot of good insights into the child's motivation, and emphasises the importance of understanding how a situation feels for the child, her approach is behaviourist throughout. As I see time-out as a humiliating punishment with a purely behaviourist motivation, I don't feel that the "No-Cry" part of the title is warranted.

Nevertheless, if one can ignore the sections about time-out this book contains some good practical advice.
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 23 Mar 2009, 20:53:06 GMT
Hi reader,
I felt I wanted to comment on this review and let you know that I suggest time-out to remove an angry child from a situation such as when the child is hitting or biting - as a way to help everyone calm down. (Time-out is mentioned on 5 pages out of 293.) Here's a brief excerpt: "Time out is not meant to be a punishment. It is a method to stop a specific misbehavior and help a child learn how to calm himself and control his behavior. "Time out can be a valuable, positive parenting tool when used selectively and in conjunction with all of the other skills discussed in this book." ~ Elizabeth

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Apr 2009, 13:18:24 BST
Dear Elizabeth Pantley,

I remember that quote from your book, but I don't believe that the way you recommend using time-outs will be experienced as anything other than a punishment by the child. Time-out is a behaviourist method designed to stop unwanted behaviour, not to address the reason why the child was upset or angry. It's a shame because in many ways you do really seem to want to focus on what's going on inside the child, not only on the "bad behaviour".

No matter the age of the child, to be forced to sit in a confined space, or even a separate room, is humiliating and you can't expect an upset child to draw the distinction and understand that it is the behaviour that you don't want, not the child.

You do advise against using the child's play area or bedroom as a "time-out spot" because "you don't want to create a negative experience in a play or sleeping space". And you advise parents to "Let the child know [...] why he was in a time-out and how he can avoid going there again." On this background it is difficult to see time-out as anything other than a negative experience that you threaten the child that he will have to go through if he does a certain thing again, i.e. a punishment.

I realise that you are writing from a culture where it is still not illegal to hit children and that time-out could be argued to be a better alternative to violence. It's wonderful that many parents today are trying to break out of the pattern of spanking, slapping etc. that they grew up with. Unfortunately, thanks to TV programs like Nanny 911 and Supernanny, time-out as a behaviourist method is on its way back also in cultures where hitting children have been illegal for a long time (like my own). It's a sad development which I believe should be resisted, therefore I was disappointed to see that you, a proponent of "gentler" ways to interact with children, advocate this.

A better way of handling a biting or hitting situation or a child who is extremely upset would be to lift the child onto your lap and talk calmly to him, not to banish him from yourself. It's not necessary to cause more distress in order to guide children through these rather common periods where they don't have the maturity to express their frustration in an acceptable way.

I also do realise that the use of time-out is mentioned on relatively few pages, and I think that if one disregards those your book has a lot of good, practical advice. ~ Synnøve

In reply to an earlier post on 8 May 2009, 19:32:23 BST
A. J. Pyott says:
I think it is admirable that you have replied to the reader, I am sure she did not expect you to. I am a Mother of two children and without the use of time out I would have no control in my home, and the structure and boundaries would disappear. I feel that time out allows both parent and child the opportunity to calm down and become reasonable again. Children have to learn what is and is not acceptable. Cuddling a child after bad behaviour is surely a reward? I have just odered your book!

In reply to an earlier post on 8 May 2009, 19:45:45 BST
A. J. Pyott says:
Dear Synnove

I am interested to know as I have for some time thought about ways to improve my Mothering skills as to why you think a cuddle after some very bad behaviour is right? My four year old knows that when she kicks me or jumps on my neck this is going to hurt me, and she continues to do so. After trying to distract her, cuddle her, play with her and she (in this mood) will usually continue to do this then she is clearly over stepping the mark. We have a no violence policy in our house, and I have taught my children over and over that we are to repect ourselves and others. If I were to cuddle her after the second or third time of doing this then I am clearly saying to her that I am happy for her to continue which I am certainly not. Time out provides a consquence to actions. I am happy to hear ways in which you think I can prevent my daughter from doing this. My Mother hugged me when I was angry and violent and sounds quite similar to you in many ways. Although I love her with all of my heart and thought she was amazing, I turned out to be the wildest teenager of them all as I had no sense of boundaries (and still dont) and thought I could get away with anything ( You can not) and she taught me unconditional love but she did not help me to learn to control myself or know when to stop doing something. I always took everything to the edge because I knew there was very little to stop me. I was begging for boundaries, because in many ways they provide a structure and you feel safe as a child when those are there. This is just my own experience, but it is an interesting debate and should you read this I would be interested in yours or other people's views on the subject.

Posted on 24 Feb 2010, 02:14:49 GMT
dlp says:
Fascinating debate here. I can see Synnove's point that it is the reasons for the behaviour that needs to be addressed and not just the behaviour itself. And that talking to the child helps the child understand his/her motivations for such behaviour and helps us understand them and address them. But children are not always mature enough to reason like this and delve into their emotions to come to terms with what is making them behave a certain way. Nevertheless, communication is important however old or mature the child is. But why does time out have to omit communication? It does not. I do think that time out helps to diffuse a situation - surely an important thing. Punishing behaviour is surely useful in drawing attention to why certain behaviours are socially unacceptable, and as long as we don't leave it there but pursue the motivating factors (in a way that is appropriate to the child's cognitive level) then I don't see why "punishment" has to be an undesirable approach.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Apr 2010, 20:53:35 BST
J. Morris says:
I am very happy to see an open discussion, especially feedback from the author. Both sides have valid points, and I think there is not really much to say as both have valid reasons and I agree with pretty much everything that has been said.

Saying that, I think that the 2 star rating is a little unfair just based on the 5 pages that Synnove doesn't agree with.

As a new dad with a 3 week old baby, I just want to get the best information possible, so thanks to all for your input here.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Nov 2011, 12:14:06 GMT
Vicki Haslam says:
Is it possible to use 'time-in' instead of 'time-out'? I.e. remove a child who is behaving violently from the situation, but GO WITH THEM instead of banishing them to another place alone. It seems to me that this helps to keep the boundaries clear but doesn't treat the child in a conditional way?
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