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genuine question about the naughty step/time out

(112 Posts)
lucyellensmum Sat 26-Jul-08 11:01:46

OK - so it works? I guess it does because everyone seems to be doing it but i honestly don't get it. So its my perception that im questioning here instead of the concept itself. I don't disagree or agree with the naughty step, im genuinely interested.

Firstly, does a young child really understand this? If you stick a small toddler on the naughty step - do they REALLY understand why they are there? As in, do they spend that time reflecting and then behave better, or do they just sit there because angry mummy put them there so best they stay there - their little minds start to wander and they forget about being naughty/having the tantrum. (OK so that works but is that what the baby bible bashers want us to believe?)

Secondly: A tantruming, possibly older toddler, are they actually going to stay there? Seriously, if the child is being that bad, they are going to just keep getting off the step, no reflection in that - i guess if they sit compliantly on the step then i wonder if it is a game to them?

I have used the naughty step with DD, at first it sort of worked, but it genuinely upset her or she got bored and wandered off. I don't bother now.

I tend to parent instinctively and dont really use any techniques - i would say my DD is slightly spoilt (thats partly DPs fault and partly mine for different reasons), but generally a well behaved little girl.

Enlighten me?

copingvquietly Sat 26-Jul-08 11:14:00

no idea LEM but i blame supernannygrin

<passes buck>

HongKongFoeey Sat 26-Jul-08 11:16:13

we don't have a 'naughty step'.
when the boys were much smaller i used to say 'do you want to go and sit on the bottom stair?' and use it as a punishment iyswim.

but no-we don't naughty step in our house..but i am quite shouty!

IdrisTheDragon Sat 26-Jul-08 11:18:00

I don't use the naughty step. I don't like using the word naughty either.

belgo Sat 26-Jul-08 11:21:19

No, a tantruming toddler doesn't usually stay on a naughty step- at least not my tantrumming toddlers!

I do find that time out works not as a punishment, but as a way of cooling down the situation.

HongKongFoeey Sat 26-Jul-08 11:22:54

why don't you like the word naughty? what word you use to describe naughty behaviour?

muppetgirl Sat 26-Jul-08 11:23:05

We used it but my 3ry old got quite sarcastic about it 'I'm on the naughty step becasue I kicked the dog. Sorry dog, sorry Mummy - can I go now?' (In a very sarcastic voice!)

How on earth she used it with 7,8,9 year olds is beyond me. Then my ds 1 is a bit of a bright spark, maybe that has something to do with it? (We'll be using it till ds 2 is 18 then... grin}

belgo Sat 26-Jul-08 11:27:39

I'm also wondering what's wrong with the word naughty.

PotPourri Sat 26-Jul-08 11:28:00

I put my girls in the corner for the specified time (1 minute for each year of their life). It has limited value in terms of reflecting on what they are doing, but it gives me a chance to break up a fight between them, and for them to calm down. I have to say that it works most of the time, as I can ask my just turned 2 year old afterwards why she is in the corner afterwards, and she tells me e.g. I hit DD1. Then I explain why you should not do that and then say "we're all sorted out" and get her to apologise. Then we cuddle and it is forgotten.

I also sometimes lift them out of the room adn put them somewhere safe e.g. the other room and tell them 'when you have calmed down and stopped screaming, come back through and play/for a cuddle/for your lunch etc'. That works quite well too.

It's not so much as a punishment, but as a time out to calm down so that I can then explain what they did and why it was not acceptable, with them being in the frame of mind to listen.

bohemianbint Sat 26-Jul-08 11:33:56

I've just been reading TOddler Taming. (I'm not sure I'm quite there with all the advice in the book, but that's another thread.) He advocates Time Out as in putting a tantrummy child somewhere where they can't do themselves any harm and going away for a minute or so, depending. He says it's as much for the benefit of the parent to use the time and space to calm down, as it is for the child. Sounds alright in theory, haven't tried it yet though...

rosmerta Sat 26-Jul-08 11:45:53

I have used it with my 2.5 yr ds but as others have said here, only as a way for us both to calm down and step back rather than a punishment.

I think if you do use it as a punishment then you're meant to keep putting them back on the step until they stay there.

alicet Sat 26-Jul-08 13:38:47

It works sometimes with us (ds1 is 2.5). However he actually quite likes the step and has in the [past when I have given himn the warning said 'I go and sit on the step now' grin which I think misses the point a little!

SugarBird Sat 26-Jul-08 14:02:20

I agree that time out is as much to let a parent get themselves together as to teach the child. It's just a way of saying that the behaviour is not acceptable and you both need a bit of space to calm down.

We never used a naughty step but I have been known to lock myself in the loo for the requisite 3 minutes when I was at the end of my tether! blush

hellish Sat 26-Jul-08 14:21:35

LEM, try reading Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Cohen. He gives lots of reasons why time out / naughty step is both ineffectual and damaging.

missmollymoo Sat 26-Jul-08 14:22:49

I never used a naughty step, but if ds was at the point where he had to be removed i put him up in his cot with all toys removed. I always gave him a chance but then up to the cot. I told him when he calmed down and was ready to say sorry then he could come back down. He never made any attempts to climb out and often screamed in frustration. I kept going up every 2 mins to see if he was ready to say sorry. Very often he just said "no" !! But i stuck to my guns and left again returning until he said sorry. It wasn't a long phase and very quickly the threat was enough to calm him down.

Lots of people don't agree with using their cots as they think it will give them a negative association with their cot, but i never found this a problem. I only used it if i really had to, and chasing them around the house trying to plonk them back on a step didn't appeal to me.

Whatever works i say. I will defo do the cot again when dd hits the tantrum stage.

re the word naughty, i don't use it tbh unless it's to do with hitting other children etc. I tend to use the word silly and not nice if it's little things as then when i do say naughty, the word and tone of voice has more significance to them. I think there's a world of difference between say picking things up they shouldn't and actually hitting or hurting other people or pets, so i reserve naughty for those things.

alicet Sat 26-Jul-08 14:28:31

Hellish can you give some examples about why it is damaging? Just interested...

SqueakyPop Sat 26-Jul-08 14:32:43

I have actually found it very effective - we had a naughty chair rather than naughty step. One minute per year of life - it allows them to reflect on their behaviour. If nothing else, it breaks whatever is going on.

Bluebutterfly Sat 26-Jul-08 14:40:11

hellish - have you read The Smart Love Parent by Martha Heineman Pieper and William J. Pieper? It is a book that I really like...

I think that the premise is similar and I try to keep many of the theories in the back of my mind during parenting ds. The only drawback that I find with the theory is that it fails to take into account parents own failings as human beings. I mean, I try to parent "rationally" and make all my responses to my child's behaviour measured and thought-through, but I do get tired sometimes, I do lose my cool and respond emotionally.

Sometimes, I do also wonder if it is really so bad for children to sometimes feel that their behaviour has been a little bit judged- not in a "I don't love you anymore" sort of way, but in a "that is not acceptable" sort of way. Afterall families are where children learn to feel loved and safe, but it is also where they model their own expectations about human behaviour from and if they never see that their behaviour has the capacity to make someone angry then they may be utterly shocked and unable to comprehend it if they are judged by someone who does not love them unconditionally. I don't know. I still struggle with the definitions of liberal vs permissive, even though the book is very clear about the differences.

HongKongFoeey Sat 26-Jul-08 14:44:10

how is it damaging?

kiskidee Sat 26-Jul-08 14:56:00

no naughty step in our house. a friend of mine tried it with her toddler years ago when Super Nanny was new on the telly and her dd became afraid of that part of the house and started to stress out about monsters etc when alone, seemingly in isolation from behaviour, but incidentally after she began the naughty step routine. She stopped using it and her dd's fearfulness also went away.

Don't want to elaborate on what we do in the house with dd who is now 3 but if you look at the book The Social Toddler, it gives v. good ideas on how to build positive relationships with toddlers thereby minimising unwanted behaviour.

we also don't define behaviour as naughty at home.

kiskidee Sat 26-Jul-08 15:04:48

nothing is wrong with the work 'naughty'. To me it has become a catch-all word for a large host of quite different types of unwanted behaviour.

It child takes a child a long time to deduce what makes an action 'naughty' because adults apply so many subtle interpretations of naughty.

Standing on a chair is not naughty, imo. It is unsafe. DD is very agile and from a young age so rather than say X is naughty, we'd say: keep it calm and short and say: let me help you down, standing up here is dangerous.

Dangerous was one of the first words we made sure she understood. it took a lot of roleplay and bad acting whenever the opportunity arose. I hope i don't sound poncy. blush

HonoriaGlossop Sat 26-Jul-08 15:13:57

Not everyone is doing it LEM!

Ds is six and I've never used this strategy.

Maybe it seems like everyone is using it but I've seen lots of posts on here over the months from people who don't do it.

missmollymoo Sat 26-Jul-08 15:18:30

You don't sound poncy, that's what i was trying to say. We used dangerous with our ds as opposed to naughty for certain circumstances. If he ever smacked or hit another person we did say that is naughty in a certain tone and he very quickly learned what as parents we considered to be naughty. By restricting it's use to these circumstances he very quickly learned that hitting was not acceptable.

Now 6 and at school he now comes home talking about children who are "silly" or "naughty", and we know exactly what he means. The "naughty" ones are always the ones who hit.

alicet Sat 26-Jul-08 15:24:13

I agree that naughty is often used too frequently and therefore diminishes the meaning of it. I agree that use of words like dangerous and explaining to the child why certain behaviours is much more acceptable is a better approach and certainly one that will imporve their understanding of why they shouldn't do certain things. This is what we try to do with ds1. even when he's done something that I would call naughty (like hitting me)I would say something like 'thats naughty to hit mummy because it hurts her' and explain why I thought it was naughty.

That said sometimes toddlers are naughty because they are testing boundaries and I don't think there is anything wrong with using it sometimes.

And for us the naughty step is often becasue I am getting really cross with him and I need the time out rather than him!

Luckily mostly ds1 is a complete joy and a very well beahved little boy. Not being smug - I am fully aware that it can change at any time and also that ds2 might not be the same. Just thanking my lucky stars at the mo!!!! And praying that bigging him up on mumsnet has not jinxed it! wink

ThatBigGermanPrison Sat 26-Jul-08 15:41:23

I have spoken to many, many people who work in the criminal justice system who are almost unanimous in their opinion that a child whose actions are never judged, who is never simply told 'no', and who suffers no authoritative consequences is a child who is heading for trouble in the British Criminal Justice System.

I have spoken to police officers who arrest incredulous youths, who cannot quite believe that if they don't comply with what they have been asked to do, compliance may be forced upon them.

I have spoken to youth offending workers and probation officers who have stated that most of their clients have a and you can't stop me attitude, and an argumentative contempt for authority.

And I have decided I'd rather be horribly unfair and didactorial, ignore Alfie Kohn completely and do my level best to make sure my boys don't grow up to be law breakers.

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