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What do we do when timeouts are not effective?

My littler girl just turned 2 but is as smart as a whip! I am having trouble with the timeout method. I am being consistent and doing the steps just like on the supernanny website. Unfortunately, when I get down to her eye level she is just ready to say sorry and a hug and ready to run! It is almost robotic at this point. Also, I tell her over and over about nice touches! She knows the difference but she is consistently in time out for the same things over and over all day long! How can I get through to her?

  • 1
    Is she in timeout because of hitting? And are you lengthening the timeout period for each subsequent timeout during the day?
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Sep 11, 2012 at 12:50
  • 2
    I think more detail is required. You mention that she's in time out for the same things over and over; what are those things? Are you actually giving time outs, or threatening a time out, and then backing off once she apologizes?
    – user420
    Sep 12, 2012 at 13:36
  • According to Kohlberg, she most likely doesn't understand Theory of Mind, and probably understands the hugs/explanation to avoid trouble, which is normal. Sep 15, 2012 at 7:46
  • As it currently stands, there's really not enough details to distinguish this question from the one linked. Lisa, if you can edit this question to provide more details, please flag it for moderator attention once you have done so, and we can see about re-opening it.
    – user420
    Sep 17, 2012 at 12:20

1 Answer 1


At 2, she probably doesn't have a totally clear grasp on logical consequences yet, so to some degree time will help the most. You may also find it more effective in the meantime to pay close attention to any possible triggers that happen before or cause the undesirable behavior and try to cut off the behavior at the pass before it happens. One way is to redirect the behavior into something more appropriate. Eg: if you want something to hit, lets get out your drum instead of hitting mommy. And also, sometimes giving toys timeouts instead of giving her timeouts is more effective for some kids. You might also wish to post a follow up question(s) about how to rid your daughter of a specific bad behavior, if there is one you are seeing over and over, because people may have specific ideas that you hadn't thought of about what good logical consequences might help that particular behavior. You're probably going to do something different for hitting than you would refusing dinner, for example.

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