Someone Needs A Time-out: Is It You?

So there I am talking with my child, trying to help him understand the gravity of the problem that he just created.  Yes, he is in trouble; but, I am trying to talk things through hoping to help him make better choices next time.  And then, boom!!  Things just explode.  The anger and rage were unbelievable.  And, the negative reactions were, undeserved at the least.  A perfect time to send someone for a bit of time to re-collect themselves.

Oh, did I forget to mention?  The explosion was mine!  I got so upset over something that really was not that big of a deal.  Yes, the point was important and my child was not being respectful.  Should I have gotten that mad that quickly?  Maybe…Probably not.  But, at that point, I couldn’t back down…could I?  I didn’t want my child to think that I was wishy-washy, that he could get away with something, that he could change my mind if he just kept at things long enough, or…gulp…that I was out of line.  But, then again, the example that I had just set was exactly the sort of behavior that I did not want any of my children repeating.

Have you ever had one of those days?

Then, I discovered that, sometimes when we hit those situations we just need a “grownup timeout”.  Sometimes we need to step out of the moment and take a little time to calm ourselves down before re-engaging.

Dangers of not taking a timeout:

  • Saying something that you will regret
  • Over-punishing:  giving a punishment that does not fit the crime
  • Setting an example that you really don’t want the child repeating

Potential from taking a timeout:

  • Avoiding your own rage cycle
  • Giving yourself a chance to choose your response instead of reacting out of anger
  • Setting an example for the child to follow – showing that you can take a moment to control your emotions and responses before they get out of control
  • An opportunity to train your child instead of just punishing 

Steps for a Grownup Timeout:

  • Tell the child that you need to step away for a moment and calm down so that you do not say something  you will regret and so that you will not make an improper decision
  • Suggest that the child do the same
  • If possible, move to a completely different area or room
  • Take the time to:
    • Regain your composure
    • Pray and ask God to help you … and the child
    • Listen to (think about) what the child has said – when looking beyond the angry reactions, there is often something you can learn about the situation, the child, or yourself
    • Decide an appropriate response

After your “grownup timeout”, remember to tell your child that you love them, care for them and want the very best for them.  Pray with your child – asking God to help both of you.  Then, calmly talk with your child.  Remember that your goal is not just punishment.  The goal is course correction – helping your child to become the person that God has created them to be.

May God bless you with love, peace, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22) as you lead your children.

6 Comments to “Someone Needs A Time-out: Is It You?”

  • dan geiser January 16, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Great advice Steven! Wisdom in your words. Praise God!

    • Steven Cribbs January 16, 2011 at 10:35 pm

      Thanks Dan. It is eye-opening to realize what our kids pick up from what we model (intentionally and un-intentionally) for them. So, I am trying to slow down a little and demonstrate things that I want them to repeat.

  • Vicki Berry January 17, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Keep those words of wisdom coming, bro! Everything you said is right on track for parents of children of all ages! I’m so proud of you, brother of mine. Reading God’s word coming through you is such an awesome blessing for your sis!

  • Adam February 1, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    I think if you are parent you have definitely have had to take a grown-up timeout.
    It makes you take a break and avoid saying or doing things that you may regret or not even have meant in the first place.
    Good Stuff Steven!

  • 12 Ways To Get Your Child’s Attention | Steven Cribbs May 17, 2011 at 11:57 am

    […] By the way, I have also tried shouting and being angry in order to get attention (especially after so many other attempts have been ignored). This is a very easy, and even natural-feeling, response. However, it is a response that usually does not have the lasting affects that we truly desire. An angry episode generally destroys ‘the moment’. And, much to our dislike, shouting to get attention sets an example that our children will be quick to imitate. If this happens to you, take a moment for a grown-up time-out. […]

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