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Former University of Hawai‘i Professor Who Pioneered Parenting Technique 'Timeout' Dies

arthur staats university of hawaii foundation.jpg
University of Hawaii Foundation
Dr. Arthur Staats died on April 26, 2021.

Timeouts and positive reinforcement are behavioral modifications many have used while raising their children. The man parents have to thank for the now-standard practice and the phrase is none other than former University of Hawai‘i psychology professor Dr. Arthur Staats.

The longtime Kailua resident died at 97 on April 26. Father’s Day took on a different meaning for his family who held a celebration of life ceremony Sunday.

Host Catherine Cruz talked to his children: Dr. Jenny Kelley, a child psychiatrist and the big sister in the family; and Dr. Peter Staats, a doctor in Florida and formerly with the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

"Dad was a super guy. Dad made great contributions to me personally, to our family, to the world through his work," his son said.

Arthur Staats made the timeout concept "with an intention of improving love between parents and children, rather than create an antagonistic relationship with a belt or corporal punishment," Peter Staats said.

This segment aired on The Conversation on June 25, 2021.

Catherine Cruz is the host of The Conversation. Originally from Guam, she spent more than 30 years at KITV, covering beats from government to education. Contact her at ccruz@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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