Why I Like the Naughty Step

Perhaps I am old fashioned, but in this house we fly in the face of ‘time out’ and use the ‘naughty step’. I realise that this is contrary to all my childminding training and it is something that I will discuss with parents. However, there are some reasons for it which I feel are valid. You see, I think that a child knows where they are with the ‘naughty step’. They know literally why and physically where they stand. It is very important for a child to know where they are and what they are doing and I think that the ‘time out’ approach when used properly creates a sense of confusion. As it can literally happen anywhere. Obviously the ‘naughty step’ is a bit harder to do whilst camping for example, but I tend to cross this bridge at the time.

The main reason I don’t like ‘time out’ is because in my experience it seems to leave the child wondering what is going on, there is no consistency. To me, it can become more of an emotional and psychological torture, I am not keen on this at all. I am really rather concerned about the use of emotional techniques on children and I think that in many ways they are as bad as the traditional smack. In some cases worse, as the power balance that can become established can be frightening. I also simply find it quite hard to keep a child in ‘time out’ whilst there are others about goading them.

It is incredibly hard to reason with a toddler, however I do think that there are ways of dealing with bad behaviour and getting the message across before you reach ‘time out’ or naughty step. Often these are as simple as removing the toy or moving the child. A high shelf has become my friend.

But why do I like the ‘naughty step’ approach? Firstly, it has been very successful with my son. One of the reasons that its use is discouraged is that it creates a place where the child does not want to go when undertaking their routine daily play, a place that is associated with bad behaviour. However, we have not found that. Instead, our ‘naughty step’ has become a place of quiet reflection. It is not usual for a member of the family to go and sit down on it for a break from the chaos of our household (one that is full of music, films, craft, singing and mess!) I think this reinforces the way that it should be used, no-one (apart from me) is sent to the ‘naughty step’ in an aggressive manner. It is a place where you sit and think about your actions. Despite this, in reality our ‘naughty step’ is such a major thoroughfare in our house that it could not for one minute become a tainted area, and I think this is one of the keys to success with the approach.

I’d be interested to know how you discipline your children, do you go for the ‘naughty step’, ‘time out’ or have you a new and exciting method which we could learn from?


6 Responses

  1. Mark 30th July 2010 / 9:46 pm

    I think we worry too much about minor variants on discipline: time out, naughty step, thinking time, removal of privililges. Frankly none of us are perfect and at times we will all lose our rag – we also use different means to establish good behaviour. But with time, care and love the kids (and us) will come through regardless.<br /><br />I have one golden rule: no matter how much they might wind

  2. Spencer Park 30th July 2010 / 10:20 pm

    My kids always choose to banish me to the naughty step!

  3. Sarah in deepest, darkest Lomellina 31st July 2010 / 11:01 am

    We had a naughty chair. We still have the chair, but now he is nine it is just a chair these days.<br /><br />I&#39;ve been lucky so far cos he was born quite biddable.<br /><br />Although that does make we wonder if he is saving up his energy for the teenage years.

  4. It's a Mummys Life 31st July 2010 / 6:55 pm

    Interesting post. We use the naughty step here but I do try and resolve the problem before it gets to that but sometimes I just need to remove her from the situation and the NS serves a purpose. I can&#39;t tolerate her hitting or kicking her baby sister so I have to create a sense that she&#39;s doing something unacceptable and I find the naughty step is a quick and meaningful way of doing

  5. cartside 31st July 2010 / 9:38 pm

    We have a corner which is in the hall. For repeated or one off obvious unacceptable behaviour this is where daughter has to go and stay until she&#39;s called back. It works well, but… We have real issue with not listening / following instructions and I&#39;m at a loss. I feel like I&#39;m constantly criticising – we had no terrible twos, now she&#39;s 3 and putting herself into danger at times

  6. Coding Mamma (Tasha) 2nd August 2010 / 6:11 am

    I&#39;m beginning to wonder whether we need to use this, though it&#39;s something I&#39;ve always disliked. Your explanation makes a lot of sense, though. We&#39;ve fallen (without any conscious decision) into using the &#39;Go to your room and think about it&#39; route, which I think is a big mistake. Of course, she doesn&#39;t stay there and think, either. But leaves the room screaming, or

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