Naughty step no longer working

(16 Posts)
Mortama Thu 08-May-14 22:48:07

We have a four year old girl with extremely high confidence and head strong with it! She is unbothered by all forms of punishment from removing toys to the naughty step. Recently while being on naughty step she has resorted to swearing and yelling we attempt to ignore her and let her sit out her 4mins and talk calmly with her after asking her to explain why she was placed there while we explain are expectations of her.

When she misbehaves in public we give her a first warning and then if that fails she will be placed in a spot for 4mins but if anyone passes by she will swear at them this is constant.

Could do with some advice on how best to deal with this, being firm and calm and using the naughty step just doesn't seem to be working :/

Cakebaker35 Fri 09-May-14 14:07:48

How about changing how you use the naughty step slightly? I'd pick just the most serious things to use it for (you and your dh need to decide what these are so they're applied consistently).

Then if any of the behaviours happen, give one warning calmly and at eye level saying if you do x again you will go on the naughty step. If the behaviour is repeated, quickly but calmly take her straight to the step, say we do not do x, and leave. You should be out of sight and there should be nothing interesting to look at wherever the step is. Leave her for 4 mins, ignoring any shouting etc during this time.

When you return say are you ready to say sorry for x? If you get a sorry then have a cuddle, say good girl and on with your day. If no sorry, say well you'll have to stay here until you can say sorry and leave again for another 4 mins. Do not talk any more or get into a discussion. Repeat until that sorry arrives!

It is tiring but it works as long as you are consistent/calm which is very hard at times. Do not engage with any conversation on the naughty step. Gradually you will use the step less, the threat will be enough once she realises she could be on it for quite a while. Good luck.

Brookville Sat 10-May-14 20:22:49

I recently did the 'incredible years' parenting course as a last resort in trying to handle an 'untouchable' son - headstrong, violent, zero empathy and no reaction to time out.
I would recommend such a course to anyone (free via council). The basic focus was on positive relationship-building: praising everything good, spending at least 10 mins child directed play together a day, rewards for specific behaviours you want to improve and I suppose in theory because the atmos is overwhelmingly positive they have less motivation to act up. Who knows! I can't summarise it on here but maybe you could take a look at something similar. Loads of advice online. Good luck.

JiltedJohnsJulie Sun 11-May-14 12:36:00

Where did she learn how to swear at 4?

adoptmama Sun 11-May-14 12:45:14

I restart the timer if mine misbehave in time out. Once they realised that they were simply extending their own punishment, they stopped it. The swearing is very effective from her point of view (especially in public) because you probably find it highly embarassing and she gets to feel she is winning. Unfortunately lots of children learn to swear from older siblings, nursery etc. All you can do is keep being consistent, keep responding to her bad behaviour to correct it etc.

Also give her ways to earn rewards and privileges e.g picking toys up = 1 point. 10 points = choosing from a list of activities like painting, gardening, bike ride etc. Try to do it separately from punishment, so don't dock points for bad behaviour (at least at first).

She's at the age to really start pushing buttons and trying to assert control so the best thing you can do is remain calm, firm and consistent.

hotcrosshunny Sun 11-May-14 13:32:51

Swearing? Bloody hell <irony not lost on me>

She must have got that from somewhere.

Anyway I wouldn't bother with the naughty step at all because it has lost it's meaning being used so often.

I would reinforce positive behaviours. Also give her attention regularly eg reading bedtime stories (make sure this happens every day regardless of behaviour as it is a good habit to get into), spending time together as a family eg eating meals together.

Tell her that swearing isn't very nice and you won't listen if she talks like that. Tell her how to talk nicely and make sure you are not swearing around her.

What does she do in public? It might be your expectations are too high. Her behaviour to you might not be that bad to others.

Swisskissingisbetterthenfrench Sun 11-May-14 23:10:10

I'd opt for appealing to her better nature and getting her to empathise/see things from other people's point of view. This can be done nicely.

TQParent Mon 12-May-14 21:42:32

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

deepinthewoods Mon 12-May-14 21:52:18

I don't punish- not something that I feel comfortable with.

HeyBungalowBill Mon 12-May-14 22:00:17

A 4 year old swearing? shock

Then again a girl in nursery with my cousin told my auntie her little brother says fuck off and he's not even 3 hmm

HeyBungalowBill Mon 12-May-14 22:03:28

Deepinthewoods - what do you do instead if your child misbehaves?
What is it that makes you feel uncomfortable?

thegambler Mon 12-May-14 22:04:59

Well what do you do deepinthewoods ?

fwiw sometimes from my experience it's trial and error, not only does what work on one child not work on another but what works on one child one month wont the next.

Re the shouting, I was at a friends and their child was playing up, showing off as we were there and after being told off quietly decided he was safe as there was company and started to shout and wouldn't be stopped, so his mum stooped down to him "You like shouting, but thats not really shouting, this is shouting...SHHHUUUUUUUTTTTT UUUUUPPPPPPP!". He blinked a few times in shock before running off, reappearing 5mins later to say sorry and be very clingy to his mum.

deepinthewoods Tue 13-May-14 06:52:56

I have not encountered swearing in a child thankfully. where do children llearn these words at such a young age?

re no punishment- I do expect certain behaviour, but I don't use an external punishment system, or rewards.
I do believe in having a positive approach, keeping lines of communication open, and recognonising the limitations and motivations of a child.

A bored child may draw on a wall if we leave pens lying around for instance. While undesirable I don't see that as misbehaviour. It's up to me not to leave pens lying around, although I would make a child recognise that drawing on walls is not acceptable, expect their help in cleaning the wall, and redirect to where a child can acceptably draw.

JellyStrawberries Tue 13-May-14 07:43:39

Deep I would do the same with the wall drawing because that's not really naughty behaviour, it's a child not understanding where it is / isn't acceptable to draw. What about when behaviour is repeated and deliberate? For example, my 3yo hates tidying up and refuses to do it at home and pre-school. Together, we are now giving stickers for him helping to tidy and have had a good start with it, but I wonder how you would tackle this differently? I don't like the idea of punishment much either and prefer a positive approach in theory, however, now I have a toddler of my own I'm not sure if that will work or not.

deepinthewoods Tue 13-May-14 07:50:28

A more creative approach is sometimes called for. Not tidying a room would not be a scenario for punishment, it's a lesson in how to motivate.

Modelling your own enjoyment at doing a task and showing the fun.
Set a timer, stickers to label for cupboards and drawers, music etc.
Having a child realise that a shared task is done in half the time, so if you muck in together then the time for more fun comes quicker. At three the tasks need to be small and easily achieved. keeping the mood light and positive, re inforcing how responsible and helpful a child can be allows them to see themselves in a good light.

JellyStrawberries Tue 13-May-14 08:03:32

Thanks - music is a good idea in particular. Sorry for derailing the thread!

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