Time Out Agreements Are Best Made Ahead of Time

When our kids were small, we frequently took advantage of a time-honored means of averting explosive interactions between us and one of our kids. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with this mechanism that has come to be a tried and true instrument in most parents’ tool bag, it’s called a Time-out. A time-out is an interruption in an interaction that is threatening to disintegrate into an explosion. Time-outs provide relief from a downward spiral of an increasingly hostile interaction by providing a cooling-off period in which both parties can gain their composure and eventually re-engage when calmer heads prevail.

Over the years of working with couples, it has become evident to us that children are not the only ones who occasionally need time-outs. Most couples have incidents in which the taking of a time out is beneficial.

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Comment by Linda Bloom on June 4, 2020 at 1:32am

Abstract: Adults get to have time outs too, and they serve an important purpose. By taking them when feelings are running high, we have a pause to reflect about what sore spots are becoming more painful so that we can soothe ourselves before we say or do things, we’ll be sorry for later.

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