Why do I sometimes need a time out?

When troubling situations and conflict occur, our feelings come first before our thinking takes over. When someone does something we don’t like, or that upsets us, our first reaction is to act on our feelings, which might include yelling or hitting.

A person can get pretty worked up physically, which doesn’t allow him or her to listen to the thinking messages that are going on inside the brain. When an adult makes you take a “time out,” it takes you away from the upsetting situation. Your body and feelings can settle down then, and you can start to think. It is normal and natural to react strongly to things that put your body on alert, but as you get older you begin to recognize that most situations can be handled calmly, using your words. You will be able to control your feelings better and use thinking to guide your actions. It is this development of self-control that shows you are growing up!