Alysia Reiner Reveals How Disciplining Herself Stopped Her Daughter’s Temper Tantrum Better Than Spanking Ever Could

05/31/2016 at 09:00 PM ET

Timeouts are definitely the go-to form of discipline for Alysia Reiner, known for playing Natalie “Fig” Figueroa on Orange Is the New Black. But in her case, she turned the tables on 7-year-old daughter Livia Charles.

“I have actually given myself a timeout, when she did throw a tantrum,” Reiner, 45, shared on the newest edition of PEOPLE’s Mom Talk. “I was like, ‘Okay, I’m no longer able to be a good mom.’ ”

She adds, “My husband [David Alan Basche] was off working, and I’d be like, ‘I’m going into the bathroom for three minutes to calm myself down because I can’t parent effectively right now.’ ”

Alysia Reiner
Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage

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And how did Livia react to such a sudden shift in her mom’s demeanor?

“[It] scared the daylights out of her,” Reiner adds. “Which was really interesting. She calmed herself down because she was like, ‘Wh-what’s Mom doing?’ ”

“Silence is deadly,” adds Reiner’s OITNB costar Selenis Leyva, 43.

Disappointment and silence,” agrees Ginger Zee, 35.

Another trick to making sure Reiner’s disciplining techniques have been effective is that she doesn’t bluff.

“One of the biggest things I learned early is you can’t ever have an empty threat — you always have to follow through,” Reiner says. “So if you say, ‘If you do that again, we’re leaving this restaurant,’ you have to be ready to leave the restaurant. And if you’re not, don’t ever say it.”

She continues, “Because the minute they don’t believe you, it’s over.”

Jen Juneau


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sue's on

I will always tell my children that the time out I gave them are not for the them, but for me.. I honestly think, time outs are a good way for the parents to collect their thoughts together and puts a stop for the parent to not take their frustration or anger at the child.

Yes there were days and pending one of my children I was given the time out too, I had to be included in the time out, for the child to understand the meaning of time out… At the end it worked well.

Anonymous on

Yup ….ignoring the child ( as long as he/she isn’t in danger of hurting themselves) is what worked for me. The tantrum was all about getting attention and when he didn’t get it ….he stopped.

rubyovertherainbow* on

Yup ….ignoring the child ( as long as he/she isn’t in danger of hurting themselves) is what worked for me. The tantrum was all about getting attention and when he didn’t get it ….he stopped.

Claire on

She’s so right about how you can’t have an empty threat. Once they’ve figured out that you don’t mean what you say it’s all over! A friend of mine once told her 12 year old daughter (whose acting out and defiance culminated in stealing money from her mom’s purse) that she was taking away the daughter’s birthday (coming up the next month). The minute she said it she regretted speaking so quickly before she really thought about what she was saying. But, to her credit, she followed through on it! When the birthday came around there was nothing for her daughter. No presents, no card, no cake, no party, nothing. Harsh? Yes. Extreme? Yes. But it was incredibly effective. The behavior problems my friend had with her daughter dropped DRAMATICALLY once she figured out her mom meant business.

Shay on

Yes, all parents need to follow through on discipline.

My friend’s son did something horrible when he was a child. She told him what his punishment was, and never enforced it. This happened every time he did something that required discipline. Now her kid is 30, and is in court for attempted murder. For the first time in his life, he’s going to have to face the consequences of his own behavior. It’s all her fault. She destroyed that kid by trying to be his friend instead of his parent.

Martha Pieper on

Actually, time-outs are not benign and in fact are a harmful way of responding to children’s immature behaviors. Child development research has shown that imitation is the most powerful way children learn. When we understand that our responses model the kind of relationships our children will adopt, we have to recognize that seemingly benign disciplinary measures such as time-outs and “consequences” are actually harmful. For example, time-outs teach children that no one wants to be around them when they are upset, which is not a good template for the kind of adults we want them to become. We want our children to become adults who will be concerned and helpful when others are unhappy and who will accept help when they are suffering. An approach to managing children’s behavior called “loving regulation” is effective yet gentle and models a positive way of responding to relationship conflicts that provides a compassionate model for adult behavior. For a parenting book that offers kind and caring strategies for managing behavior at every age and stage see: Smart Love: The Comprehensive Guide to Understanding, Regulating and Enjoying Your Child.