Any Moms Very Diligent About Time Outs- Supernanny Style?

Updated on February 23, 2011
M.D. asks from Rockport, TX
20 answers

I will try to keep it brief... My 5 year old has 2 or 3 serious behavior issues that I cannot seem to stop. She gets so mad at little things and she will flop her body around, stomp or roll on the floor... All the while holding her breath til she turns red. She also has a sarcastic, smart mouth. Its time to stop this disrespectful behavior. Before we moved (about 8 months ago) she was attending play therapy for her anger and we learned a few tips and techniques to deal with it, but its getting out of hand again. I was going to look for another therapist for her but the thing is she knows right and wrong.. As she DOES NOT EVER act this way at school. I have even talked to her about the respect she shows at school but not at home.

So, I am tired of yelling, fighting and constantly getting on to her for this. i want to get on a very, very strict time out program. Is anyone very consistent with time outs and does it work? What are the steps you follow? Are they allowed to scream and flop around while in time out- or do you continue to start the time over? What if they keep getting up? Any tips or suggestions are greatly appreciated. This is taking away from fully enjoying my time with my darling daughter.

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answers from Burlington on

I send my children to their rooms when they misbehave. They don't have the same anger problems. They stay there quietly until it's time to come out. Being sent there is bad enough.

You said you are tired of "yelling, fighting, and constantly getting on her." That's probably where she learned her bad behavior. You are behaving like a child. I suggest you read "How to talk so kids will listen & Listen so kids will talk." She probably behaves well at school because she knows what is expected of her and is immediately reoriented when she misbehaves. Children need boundaries. Her behavior tells that she does not know what the boundaries are in her home. Consistency provides the boundaries.

Here's a link:

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Time outs help with us. If they keep getting up, time out starts over. They actually have to put their nose on the wall and arms have be be straight down at their sides. If it continues, like late at night or something, we give them a bowl of warm, soapy water and a rag and they have to clean the walls too.

I think with anger issues, that is the problem you need to confront, some good techniques here:

Dr. Sears has some excellent expert advice on behavior/discipline issues:

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answers from Springfield on

Sounds like she's basically throwing a temper tantrum. Usually, I get down on the floor and acknowledge the feeling, "I know you're frustrated that Mommy turned off the tv. When you're feeling better, we'll find something fun to do." Something along those lines. Then I walk away.

When they get upset like that, it's usually because they think it will get them what they want or because they are genuinly very upset and can't find the words to deal with it. Letting them know that their feelings are normal and ok is important. Helping them learn better ways to deal with it is important as well.

The only time I do anything about the tantrum is if they are physically in the way or in danger. Otherwise, just give them some space and some time to cool off.

If their behavior warrents a time out, very similar rules apply. Put them somewhere where they won't be entertained (a stair step, a chair in the kitchen) and leave them be. Don't worry about how they behave in time out, unless they are having fun! If they're throwing a fit, they're just trying to get a reaction out of you. Just ignore it and talk to them calmly when the time out is over.

Staying calm is one of the most powerful tools we have (and one of the most difficult). When our kids see us calm and in control, they really take notice. They notice us when we're yelling, but that's not nearly as effective as when we are calm and in control.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Savannah on

We had a couple things for my oldest son: time out and reset time. If he totally just did something disrespectful or naughty (like spitting was a big one for me), we would get down to his eye level and say "Spitting is not allowed, it is not respectful, it is not ok. Do not do it again." If he did it again in a short period of time (we thought we needed to be reasonable for his age; if we warned him at 8am, he may not remember at 3pm, ya know?), then we would very calmly escort him to time out. We would say "Go to time out" and follow him, or sometimes have to take his hand. A couple times I had to carry him, but not usually. Time out for us: I wanted to pick a spot that I could easily see him, but where he could not be "part" of what was going on (couldn't see the TV though we could see him from the couch, couldn't see what game we were playing at the table though we could see him from our seat, just a quick peek around the corner if I was cooking, etc....but nowhere near toys or kids stuff). For us and the layout of our house, this was the corner by the front door. The dining room and entry were pretty boring to young eyes, but it was a straight shot with an easy view so I could know he was where he needed to be. I took blue painters tape and made an X on the floor, and that was the time out spot. I didn't really care if he stood or sat because he was a bundle of energy and both would be "punishment" as long as he had to stay on that one tile. For us, time out was more of a semi-stern punishment for "medium" infractions. If he hadn't really done anything wrong, but was getting wound up, I would take him to his room for "reset time". He needed to sit on his bed and calm down before he could join us, just reset (like pushing reset on the video games and it starts over) and then come back in and start over. This was also what we did if he lost his temper and I felt we were all losing control. It wasn't "the punishment" so much as a time out for everyone involved. We would say "Stop, we need to reset now". And I'd ask him to go to his room to calm down and reset. When he wasn't screaming, mouthing off (to noone because he was alone in his room) or crying, and I felt like I was calm on the inside, we'd go in and talk calmly about the situation, what was wrong with it, where we think we may have gone off, etc. We would then figure out the best discipline for us, for the situation calmly. Something that would actually be a logical result of whatever had happened before instead of everyone acting on emotions. If he chose to stay in his room a little while that was fine. But "reset" was until he was calm and ready to start over (which could be 2 seconds or 30 minutes, his choice) and "time out" was a specific, set punishment (2 minutes when he was 2, 3 when he was 3, etc....with a timer). When the timer went off, we would discuss the situation and how we needed to correct the behavior.
We love Supernanny. We also love Love & Logic (the best I've seen, and it HELPS me to keep myself under control too, since I've got a natural tendency to lose my temper or patience...this has done wonders for me, and my husband agrees). But we are big on calmly laying out choices now. Something like, I am asking you to not fight with your brother. If you choose to be nice and share with your little brother, you are choosing to have a happy afternoon and we can all go to the park to play. If you choose to fight with him and not share anything, you are choosing to stay home and miss out on your playdate at the park today. It is your choice, you tell me what you want. We do that for pretty much everything; we want him to know he is empowered to make decisions and choices, but that he has consequences (good and bad) for everything. I heard him (at 3 years old) explaining to his 2 friends one day that good things happen when you make good choices and bad things happen when you make bad choices. Had to smile....he understood enough to teach his friends, on a 3 year old level. I would try this, but you DO have to stay calm and not yell too. If you want her to not have a temper tantrum, you have to stop losing your temper too. If she needs to stop yelling, so do you....and you have to make your changes first. I'd really look into the love and logic stuff. Hope it helps. If there is a bigger emotional issue that requires therapy, do what you need to do, of course. But for normal parenting issues, this works for us.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

You have some great suggestions so far. I would add that the screaming and flopping around are to get back at you. Let her see you put headphones on or ear plugs in so you can't hear her. Don't put them on completely, but act like you can't hear her. Also, walk away so she sees that you will not be able to see her flop around. If convenient, actually step OVER her so that it is obvious that you are getting out of her way. (It will make it a little more humorous for you instead of aggravating.) Let her flop around, because remember, it doesn't bother you. Just keep telling yourself. And also remember not to take it personally. She is just trying to get you as mad as she is. Don't give her that satisfaction.

Visualize that you are a thermometer and pay attention to the temperature rising when you start to get angry. Never let it get past your waist, so to speak. If your anger ever gets past that point, you must change gears or ask your husband to come take over, walk away, put in some headphones with your favorite music, whatever it takes. I had to learn to stay calm and it really helped once my daughter became a teenager. If you don't yell or fight with them, it settles things down so much quicker. Don't ever let her see you get angry. She can see an annoyed look on your face, but always stay calm. If I could do it, anyone can learn to do it. (I came from a very loud and angry home.)

We also had to lock our daughter in her room. You can switch the door knob if it already has a lock to work from the outside. Otherwise you can buy a new doorknob or put a latch outside. Some kids will stay in time-out, but some will not and you have to find a way to keep them in a time-out.

Lastly, if she is behaving outside the home, you have done a wonderful job of teaching right from wrong. If she is a strong-willed child, she wants to be in control somewhere. Since she has learned it is not appropriate outside the home, then she will reserve it all for you. Good job in raising her. Sorry that she has to reserve it all for you. Now she just has to learn how to deal with life when she can't have her way. What better place for her to learn than in your home! Try not to see this as aggravating, but see it as another opportunity to teach your daughter about the real world. Bad behavior = consequences. Good behavior = hugs, smiles, pride, laughter, and fun surprises. Plan some fun surprises (e.g. her favorite dessert) and bring it out on a good day. Don't tell her it's coming. You might have to put it in the freezer for a few days until she has a good day. But also use non-tangibles like hugs, etc.

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answers from New York on

I am a time-out mom and we are very conscious of how we use it. Small infractions don't require a TO, only the "big ones"- food throwing, hitting, out-right refusal to do something, safety issues, etc.

It does work, but children who respond to TO need to have an awareness of "consequences" and their actions. You may need to do some "preteaching" of consequences to make this work for your child. The simple fact that she only engages in this behavior at home tells me that you probably need to enlist a therapist again b/c her anger is directed at something or someone at home and the move may have made it worse.

Our TO "method":
- First time he gets a "warning"... Do ____ or you will go to TO.
- If he does it again, TO no matter what
- 2 minutes for every "year old" your child is (or until they are calm)
- He's almost three, so after 5 minutes, one of us will go into his room and ask if he's calm enough to come out. Sometimes he says "yes" and sometimes "no". Either way, he must be calm to come out of TO
- When he comes out, we have a very brief conversation about the "offense" and then we move on

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answers from Boston on

I wouldn't bother using time out for a child with anger issues, it's not going to work no matter how diligent you are. My oldest son was not a time out kid. There was just no way that he was going to sit somewhere without physical force and restraint, and that defeats the whole purpose of time out. My younger boys are much more mellow and a quick timeout was what they needed to de-escalate their behavior and re-group and calm themselves down. Time out can work when used right for kids with a certain personality and a parent-child dynamic that is different from what you are struggling with.

Please check out this book: We are using this technique in our house and it really does work. I think you'll find that it's a better fit for a strong-willed child.

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answers from Chicago on

123 Magic. Give it a read, it's quick and works miracles.

We use the counting and then time outs when our 2.5 yo starts up. It works wonders. It also addresses "adult" temper tantrums, which is basically when you lose it and start yelling (like we all do!). The calmer you are, the more effective it is. Part of the tantrum and drama is getting a rise out of you. When you stop that, you take away half of her motivation.

For us, DS won't sit in a chair or in the corner (we've had to physically restrain him), so we lock him in his room for 3 minutes. Works wonders!

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answers from Houston on

I am 40 years DD is Mom, who is 71 often says... "if you cant out smart a toddler...there is somethin' wrong with YOU"....
Get down to her level, look right into her eyes and SAY what you want....YOU are the adult.



answers from Austin on

I have used the "SuperNanny" technique with my son for the last 3 yrs. He's turning 6 in a month & responds incredibly well to the naughty step/timeout for # minutes = to age technique.

We cracked up last month b/c he figured out I watch SuperNanny on Friday nights. He sat down w/ me & watched the show....then asked if SuperNanny had come to our house & he just didn't remember :) We actually watch the show together as a family now (when appropriate) & talk about the children's behaviors vs what we've had happen in our house, ect. It's been great!!


answers from Los Angeles on

I find that there are a number of situations where time- out just wasn't an ideal punishment. Like when I'm late and she is in trouble for dilly dallying. When it took me 15 min through tantrums to get her to sit in her high chair , then she through food, or ruins food by mixing it (and she is now old enough to know better ((3 years))). Like I'm going to take her out of her high chair after the work it took to get her their for a time out? I recommend the book "The Strong Willed Child". It really helped me deal with defiance in a way that has allowed me to have the upper hand and not be parenting with my hands tied behind my back. There is more peace in our home now. I don't parent from a place of exasperation or anger any more. I'm in control.



answers from Houston on

Whatever it is that a child is having a tantrum about, is the last thing
you should give them. Show them "it doesn't work". Stay ever so
calm and patient. Let the child see that they cannot push your buttons.
Hopefully, this will be shortlived and you WILL be on to your next
"problem of the day". IT HAPPENS! Good luck with lots of patience.



answers from Minneapolis on

Time outs and 123 Magic worked great for my older daughter, but were a dismal failure with my younger daughter. The couting and time outs only served to fuel her anger and tanturming. Try reading "The Explosive Child" and try the collaborative problem-solving approach. It worked much better for us.



answers from Houston on

My daughter is 3 years old. I have noticed that she has had an issue with listening. I was really getting tired of threatening time outs a million times. All we were doing was threatening. Sometimes one threat would work other times 5 or more threats at once would work.

Finally, I regrouped and realized that we were rarely following threw with our threats. My parents always followed thru with punishment. My husband and I talked and decided that is what we needed to do.

Now, anytime my daughter does not listen or if she throws something or kicks b/c she does not want to do anything, she gets put in timeout for 3 minutes. She has to sit against the wall, legs crossed with hands in lap and no talking. I think she is a little young to understand that if she cries timeout starts over but we will get there. Also, if she does the exact same action again within the same period, the second punishment is a little swat on the back of the legs. If she does the same action again, we do time out again. If she does a different action, we start with time out.

It seems to be working. Most of the time, time out works by itself. There has only been a handful of times when we had to revert to a little spanking on the back of the leg.



answers from Houston on

Yes I used time outs "super nanny" style and yes they work! We give 1 warning, and then it's time out to whatever spot you choose. Currently we use the stair, but at our old house it was a kitchen chair. It's 1 minute per year of life, and when he's done he gets a hug, needs to tell us why he was in time out and say sorry.

We actually used time outs before watching Super Nanny, we just added her system of 1 warning, and then making our son tell us why he was in time out and apologizing. We were as consistent with this part before.

Whatever discipline you choose to use, consistency is the key. 1 warning and then consequences. Any more than 1 warning and they really will push you to the very last limit. It's also important to not give idle threats and mean what you say. Don't threaten to take away a privilege you are not really wanting to take away or have no intention of taking away. Staying consistent in this way really works!

A good book to read, if you haven't already read it is Parenting the Strong Willed Child.

This book helped us immensely when our son was your daughters age!

Good luck!


answers from Los Angeles on

I do time outs with my 2 year old.
I give her a few warnings, and then off she goes. If she wants to cry loud or roll around I close her door almost all the way (I just leave it open a crack).
I don't stop the time out until she calms down, stops crying, and has a talk with me. So, I don't have a time limit right now, mainly because of her age....if she were older I probably would have times.
Usually it doesn't take long, for her to calm down, but it also depends on how frustrated/tired she is. If she keeps getting up, I just walk her right back to the spot in her room. I guess for us we use consistency. Same place everytime, same routine after she calms down, etc.
Hope this helps.



answers from Houston on

She throws temper tantrums because you throw temper tantrums. Yelling and fighting with her is not acceptable behavior for an adult or a child. You must model the behavior you expect from your daughter. How do you expect her to learn the correct way to behave at home if you don't demonstrate it for her? It is obvious that she is getting mixed signals if she is able to behave at school but not at home. She needs consistancy at home. Find out what they do at her school and follow the same protocal at home. Another suggestion is everytime your daughter does something or says something unacceptable ask her if she would do or say that at school or what her teachers would do if she acted that way at school. This makes them aware of the difference in their behavior at school and at home. You need to do this as well. Think about how you are acting or reacting to your daughter's behavior. Ask yourself if you would react that way to your friends? My guess is that you will learn that your behavior toward your daughter is out of line which is where your dauhter has learned her bad habits. Keep in mind that many kids taht don't get enough attention seek out negative attention because negative attention is better than no attention. It is VERY important to praise your daughter when she is behaving well. Remember to thank her for cooperating, being helpful, getting ready for bed on time, etc....and a reward (and a hug) every now and then can work wonders.



answers from Tallahassee on

You might want to check out Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline by Becky Bailey. This book has been a great tool in helping my husband and I learn how to parent our daughter better. We're actually taking some parenting classes right now based on Becky Bailey's Conscious Discipline and we're going through the book, chapter by chapter, in class. We've been doing this for a few weeks and we've seen a lot of positive changes in our daughter's behavior.


answers from Washington DC on

Consistency is the key.
I used time out a LOT and it worked. Eventually I only had to threaten the time out.
I was very consistent about rules and consequences. I NEVER let them get away with anything - ever. If they broke a rule, they suffered the consequence.
If you are consistent with your rules and Time Out, you'll end up with a model citizen.



answers from Laredo on

Ignoring tantrums has worked for us. If she's throwing a fit, go in another room, and she'll realize she's not in control anymore.

Also, she's old enough that you could take away privileges. With my 4 year old son, we take away video games, TV, playing outside, reading stories... whatever he loves most, we take away when he's misbehaving. It works b/c he wants to do those things, so he'll start to act right. Maybe you could try that.

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