Why the Naughty Step is wrong

Why the Naughty Step doesn’t work.

The Naughty Step has been a go-to punishment for years, but it is far from the most effective method. In fact, it can often have the opposite effect – rather than calming a child down, it can make them angrier, more upset, or more frustrated.

In case you are unfamiliar with the concept, the naughty step is a stool or step where you send your child if they have been naughty. Depending on their age, you will leave the child there for a number of minutes. A six year old would have to stay there for six minutes, for example. If they get off before six minutes is up you physically force them back on it. The idea is that they spend this time reflecting on what they did wrong.

This method has been around for years and years, which is in a sense part of its failing. Studies in neuroscience and our knowledge of children’s behaviour has come a very, very long way since the Naughty Step was first thought up.

One of the key developments since then has been the discovery that children do not start to develop their conscience until they are about seven. Due to this, telling your child to “think about what they’ve done” doesn’t achieve much. It results in your child feeling resentful towards you, because the chances are they don’t know what they’ve done wrong, which is very important to remember.

Rather than doing something wrong on purpose, they are often doing it because they don’t have a better way of getting whatever it is they want. Therefore, giving them time to reflect isn’t going to help either of you.

Not only is the “think about what you’ve done” part often ineffective, especially with toddlers, having to physically restrain your child and force them to stay on the naughty step for the designated time can be extremely traumatic for your child, not to mention frustrating or upsetting for you.

Modern parenting is facing a revolution where we as parents choose to leave behind the old systems that society has relied on for so long. One of these is the concept of the Naught Step and time out for young children. Modern science tells us that these negative behaviours that we see at this age are predominantly due to a child not knowing how to achieve what they want to achieve.

If you would like some alternatives to consider then please download my 12 steps below.



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