Creative Child

Does Time-In Reward Children?

by Rebecca Eanes


This difference in the positive parenting view of children from the traditional view became clear to me when a comment was made on my previous article, 3 Alternatives to Time Out That Work. This person believed that the practice of time-in would cause the child to misbehave to get the “reward” of parental attention. It’s true that children do crave attention and connection, and I suppose if the only way a child can get it is through poor behavior, she will resort to that. But how is this the child’s fault?

If attention and love is only given during a time-in, there is something fundamentally wrong in the relationship dynamic in the first place. Children should be given lots of positive attention and affection every day, and if we are doing that, there will never be a need to “misbehave to get attention.”

Furthermore, if we are already close and connected with that child, then the time-in allows them to focus on our instructions rather than being defensive against us. Bringing a child into safe and loving arms to help him calm down and learn to manage himself through emotional storms is not coddling or rewarding, it’s teaching. Isn’t that what parenting is?

I think, culturally, we need to move past the idea that too much love rewards or spoils children. This idea damages our relationships and leads us to treat unfairly those who are newest among us. Children do not enter the world with bad intentions. They do not come to wear us out, test our limits, or seek control. They come with a need for love and guidance.

In 5 years of practicing positive parenting, I have never found that love drives misbehavior, but that the opposite true. Love allows them to grow into their full potential.

Read more here for Positive Parenting Tips from Rebecca Eanes!

Rebecca Eanes is the bestselling author of multiple books including Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, The Positive Parenting Workbook, and The Gift of a Happy Mother. She is the grateful mom of two boys. 


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