There's a time and a place for timeouts and it may not be every time a child misbehaves.

FOX's Lisa Brady reports:

For kids of a certain age, namely 2-to-6-year-olds, timeouts are the go-to punishment for many parents. But researchers say it's possible to overuse it:

(Dr. Roberts) "It is a discipline procedure, so all it does is it teaches a child what not to do."

Mark Roberts, an emeritus professor of psychology at Idaho State University, says positive reinforcement for good behavior is important.

And ignoring misbehavior, when possible, is much less intrusive discipline. He reserves timeouts for hitting, or for disobeyed warnings:

(Dr. Roberts) "The child has been given one instruction and either doesn't respond or argues, fusses, carries on and then the parent gives one warning, which is if you don't do blah, blah blah you're going to have to sit on your time out chair."

Roberts recommends two minutes, and never more than five.

And if the child won't sit, a quiet rule: One minute in their room, five seconds of calm, then back to the chair.

For any child with an aggressive or violent reaction, he urges professional help to avoid more serious problems later.

With FOX on Family, I'm Lisa Brady.

For parents who want more information on discipline, Roberts recommends the book "Parenting the Strong-Willed Child: The Clinically Proven Five-Week Program for Parents of Two-to-Six-Year-Olds," now in its third edition. He also cites the extensive research of developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind.