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20 Month old DD LOVES 'The Naughty Step' - advice?

(21 Posts)
MamaBear17 Sun 14-Apr-13 19:46:01

My DD is a very articulate toddler and because she can communicate so clearly she can be very bossy. She is a lovely toddler and well behaved most of the time but we are coming up to the 'terrible twos' and she has started throwing the odd tantrum or hitting/pinching me and, on occasion, her 22 month old cousin. We introduced a warning and 'time out' system because it is the system that our nursery uses and I want to be consistent. A few weeks ago she hit me in the face. I told her not to hit mummy in the face as it hurt and was unkind. She then hit me again. I put her on the step and told her that she had to sit on the step because she hit her mummy. I moved all of the toys went and sat away from her. She sat on the step perfectly (although a little bewildered). After one minute I went back to her and reiterated why I had put her on the step, asked her if she was sorry (she said sorry) and gave her a cuddle and a kiss. It worked like a dream and we had lovely behaviour afterwards. She continued to say aloud 'not hitting mummy, sit on step, no toys' for a while after ward. Since then she has been given a time out at nursery for teasing her cousin, and we have used the step a few times since. Every time she sits beautifully, says sorry and then behaves perfectly afterwards. However, earlier when we were playing she decided she needed to go on the step! She was quite adamant saying 'mummy tell dd go on step now, sit on step, no toys'. When I wouldnt put her on the step she got really agitated and started throwing a tantrum. I wasnt quite sure what to do because she was throwing a tantrum because she wanted to go on the step. She did the same with hubby and he put her on the step and went through the motions. She was saying things like 'daddy tell DD stay on step, daddy go away, come back now daddy, dd say sorry, cuddle now, kiss!'. She literally dictated him to do the whole thing. Ive told hubby not to do it again because she will start to think it is a game. But, part of me wonders if it is worth persevering with as a discipline technique if she actually enjoys the process. Any advice or alternative methods?

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Sun 14-Apr-13 19:50:16

Was she trying to confess to having been naughty, in a roundabout way?

My DS2 used to do that - ask to go on the naughty step when HE felt he had been naughty IYSWIM.

whokilleddannylatimer Sun 14-Apr-13 19:51:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MamaBear17 Sun 14-Apr-13 19:51:35

I really dont know. It was very funny to watch though, but I couldnt quite believe my eyes!

YoniBottsBumgina Sun 14-Apr-13 19:53:17

It doesn't have to be a negative thing - in fact I personally think it's more effective if it's a neutral thing rather than some big bad scary punishment.

We have a calm-down corner instead of a naughty step, it's not a threatening place, and DS sometimes puts himself in it when he wants some alone time or when he needs to calm down (I have been known to do this too!) - and why not? It shows that he sees what it's for and is using it in a useful way to remove himself from a situation which is getting out of control. Of course there are times when he is screaming "NO CALM DOWN CORNER! I AM CALM ALREADY!" etc grin

Also I don't punish for tantrums, definitely not at 20 months. At 20 months tantrums are about something she doesn't understand or a feeling that is getting so bit's out of hand. Best thing IMO is to acknowledge that they feel sad/angry/whatever - doesn't mean you give them what they want! - and reassure rather than punish. Of course if she is hitting/throwing things etc that is different, but just a tantrum because she's upset, no.

YoniBottsBumgina Sun 14-Apr-13 19:54:45

so bits = so big it's

HotCrossPun Sun 14-Apr-13 19:56:56

Is she maybe wanting to be put on the step because she associates it with getting the kisses and cuddles afterwards?

MamaBear17 Sun 14-Apr-13 19:58:20

Thanks all. No we dont punish for tantrums either, we just get her to calm down and ask her what is wrong. She can articulate exactly what she wants and usually accepts 'no' without too much fuss. Perhaps she was feeling like she needed to go to the step? Im glad that it has worked and will persist I think.

montage Sun 14-Apr-13 20:00:37

"and started throwing a tantrum. I wasnt quite sure what to do because she was throwing a tantrum because she wanted to go on the step."

grin I can see how that would confuse things!

I think Yoni has a good point when she says it doesn't have to be a negative thing - it can literally be a time-out or break from whatever behaviour you needed her to stop doing. It sounds like it worked very well as a calm-down tool.

She may just be assimilating the whole idea of it at the moment and is looking to explore and understand the process. No harm in practising wink

MamaBear17 Sun 14-Apr-13 20:00:47

It could be the cuddles thing, but I do cuddle and kiss her all of the time anyway. In fact, kissing her too much is occasionally the reason that she smacks me in the face! She loves role play and I think that might be part of it. Sometimes she will announce that she is going away and demand that I cry, just so that she can bring me a tissue and wipe my eyes and cuddle me better.

YoniBottsBumgina Sun 14-Apr-13 20:10:13

You can always call it the "thinking step" if you want to continue the current routine but make it sound more neutral smile I know it's not everybody's approach but I feel that discipline should be constructive rather than just naughty = punishment/good = reward, because adult life is not so simple and most of the time we need to rely on our own moral compass, rather than whether we will be rewarded or punished for our actions.

So I think something like a calm down step or a thinking corner is good because it gives them the option of choosing it for themselves if they want to deal with a situation, without the shame attached to the "naughty" step/corner etc, but still, there is a consequence for bad behaviour which you can enforce.

CreatureRetorts Sun 14-Apr-13 20:14:02

I would say she's too young for it. Giving a warning and timeout is something I do with my 3 year old. At 20 months, something more imediate would be appropriate so she can make the link. Eg hitting, either distract before it happens, show her what to do, or move away and say "no" firmly as soon as she does it.

blueberryupsidedown Sun 14-Apr-13 20:15:46

Naughty steps are evil. Have you thought of another method?

Personally, I wouldn't send my child to a nursery that uses that old fashioned, rubbish, shortcut method. Call it whatever you want, I just can't stand that approach. There are other ways to deal with toddler behaviour!!

sedgieloo Sun 14-Apr-13 20:20:14

Hi mamabear. Your dd sounds very much like my own in this regard. I've adjusted my approach due to similar problems. I wonder if because she was so communicative so young if I just slipped into reasoning too much for her with regards to discipline because what is having huge benefit now (she's 2.5 now) is 123magic (dr George Phelan). It's a variation on what you are doing but with much much much less talking, reasoning and explanation or emotion. The difference is amazing for us. A bit like Yoni we have a calm down spot also.

She was loving the attention she was getting from time out but no longer! I am recommending to everyone!!

MamaBear17 Sun 14-Apr-13 20:57:46

Thanks all for the advice. Just to clarify, we do not call it the naughty step - I just used that term because that is what it is known as generally. We do not use the word 'naughty' at all. She just gets told she will sit on the step.

MajaBiene Sun 14-Apr-13 21:01:59

"Time out" doesn't have to be a horrible punishment that she fears, does it? Especially at 20 months - she doesn't need to be punished, she just needs a brief removal from the situation.

I think the step game is just her processing something that happens in her life. My 2.5 year old does similar, but he gets me to make his toys sit on the step.

MamaBear17 Sun 14-Apr-13 22:08:24

It is most definitely not a punishment. That is why we chose this method and the way that we (and the nursery) do it is very gentle. No shouting or raised voices, just a clear explanation of what is unacceptable, a brief time out and then back to playing. Like I said, it worked beautifully, I just wondered about the relevance of her then wanting to act it out! And throwing a tantrum when I told her she didn't need to go on the step! I will look into the 123magic stuff because it sounds really interesting.

The step she sits on is in the front room because our stairs are in our lounge so she is not left on her own. Thanks to all who have taken the time to reply.

Notsoyummymummy1 Sun 14-Apr-13 22:36:40

I think she is too young really for the naughty step technique - she ideally has to be at least three. Also it needs to be in a quiet boring place away from the tv, family distractions and toys and that she is ignored whilst on there so that it is not enjoyable.

chocolatecrispies Mon 15-Apr-13 11:17:06

I'm with those who say she is too young - if you look at the books which recommend time out as part of a constructive approach they all say that below 3 is too young to understand it. She certainly won't be sitting and reflecting on her behaviour even if you call it the thinking step. Time in might be more useful.

pinkpudding Mon 15-Apr-13 18:55:24

She is just making sense of her world. Acting out and repeating the routine helps her get her head round this new thing you're doing. My son spent most of his 3rd year playing at putting his toys on the naughty spot

sedgieloo Mon 15-Apr-13 20:10:19

I also get what the posters are saying about too young for timeout. Personally I don't like timeout very much at all there is something that doesn't sit well with me. I think it is because for me it smacks a bit of isolation and humiliation. But I dislike other methods more or...they are ineffective in our case! I prefer 'calm down, thinking time' with no angry tellings off (as per 123 magic) and I keep reasoning to a minimum (she who must be obeyed) and there is no opportunity for bartering out. I count her out first always. Unless it was hitting and then it would be straight to the calm zone. I won't leave her though. Well I will leave the room but not close the door and make sure she hears me scratching about.

Anyway I wanted to say to the op that some ' kind ignoring ' may work given her young age. But if going down the timeout route 123magic is ime worth a look.

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