Naughty Chair?

One of my occasional guilty pleasures is watching “The Supernanny“. I like to watch it for a couple of reasons…first, I like to feel superior to these people, because MY CHILD has never behaved in these ways, and really, we would never allow it. Second, I like to see how QUICKLY effective methods of discipline can diffuse a situation, how good communication between caregivers can help, and how the family can very quickly go from one based in hell, to one that you might actually consider functional. She does some great work, and her website actually has some pretty good advice. Some crap, too, though, so you have to weed through it.

My main problem with Jo’s method, however, is the ‘Naughty Chair’. If you’re at all familiar with The Supernanny, you know that a cornerstone of her method is the Naughty Chair. It’s no different than a Time Out. There are a couple of problems with time out as a discipline technique, for me. First, it doesn’t always make sense. Sometimes it does, and then it’s a fine technique. For example, if my child is behaving in a way that is disruptive and annoying, a logical consequence to bad behavior is that she doesn’t get to be near me. If she’s behaving badly in a grocery store, or a restaurant, a logical consequence is to remove her from that situation. That means you don’t get to stay if your child is misbehaving, which sucks, but it teaches the child, and is only fair to those around you. However, if she’s just made a mess all over the floor, a better form of discipline than sending her to a Naughty Chair would be to have her clean up her mess. If she’s too young to do a decent job of cleaning up the mess, she can help me clean up the mess. As long as she’s involved in the process. Another problem with the Naughty Chair, is that I always see the children getting out, and the parent having to pick them up and put them back in the chair. The purpose of a time out is to get the child away from the attention that they seek, and if you’re constantly having to stop what you’re doing to put them back in the chair, they’re getting plenty of attention. So, for me, the Naughty Chair, and Time Out, can SOMETIMES be an effective method of discipline, but only when they are the logical consequence to the child’s behavior. There are many, many more effective methods to use, which won’t turn into a power struggle, and won’t have you wanting to break the Naughty Chair over poor Jo’s head.

If you’re interested in learning more about Logical Consequences, which, by the way, I hated as a child, because they often meant going without my allowance until something was paid for, when a spanking would have been MUCH quicker and over with in my mind, click here for a good article. It’s meant for teachers, but it explains the concept pretty well.

14 thoughts on “Naughty Chair?

  1. Ah, punishment! One of the areas that is the hardest for me! Not in that I’m unwilling to give it, it is just trying to find the most effective one for the circumstance. I use a version of the naughty chair, although not for all things, or even most. We use a combo of taking away favorite things and redirection/discussion. When he gets older I am sure that will change!

  2. Ah, a daughter after my own heart. I think time out sucks and when that is all that is offered to struggling parents, and it doesn’t work (which it so often doesn’t), they usually go back to whatever they were doing that wasn’t working in the first place.

    The wonderful thing about logical consequences is that the child sees the connection between what she has done and what is happening and recognizes the justice in it. Also, the child has some control — she can choose to stop the behavior early on and have the consequence be shorter.

  3. The “naughty chair” or time out never worked for us. I put my daughter in her room, and it was a win-win for both of us. I didn’t have to deal; she didn’t like being removed from everyone else.

    We used a discipline method called 1-2-3 Magic and it is FABULOUS! We are constantly complimented on how well our children behave.

    We sometimes watch Jo-Jo with our daughter. She calls it “the bad kid show.” It is a great way to feel good about what’s going on in your own house, and I think it makes my daughter feel really good that she doesn’t ever act like that.

  4. No “naughty chair” here. For us, the key is being consistent. Thankfully, the tantrums have gotten fewer. What I don’t quite understand is why parents allow their children to get to the point where a Supenanny has to get involved. Where were they all along? Geez, I’ll be damned.

  5. It’s interesting you’re writing on this topic the same day I just started a class for this half of the semester -“Creating Environments for Learning” and in that we are studying a good bit by a man named Jim Fay and his discipline plan “Love & Logic”. And he happens to be listed as a reference on that article you linked to. Granted, like most things like this, when watching one of his tapes our instructor shared during class, it could get a bit corny. However, the general approach, his methods are certainly of merit.
    Thanks for sharing!

  6. Ever child is different, what worked for one of my kids did not work for the other. I am a firm believer that a instruction manual should have been attached to the child at birth.
    Watching the Nanny is hard for me to do. The beginning of the show is too much, and I always end up turning it before the nanny had time to work her magic.

  7. I believe that every form of disclipine does not work for everyone (or every situation) and a lot depends on your child. I like to think I have trained my children to behave well but the truth is probably that they are well-behaved children. They responded better to removal of priveledge than anything else.

  8. I’m really glad you elaborated here because I had posted a question to your comment on one of my posts a few weeks ago. I am so relieved because this is what I have usually done(removed him from the situation) until someone suggested ‘time outs’. TO just didn’t seem to work. Since it is only me I struggle with the ‘bad cop’ syndrome. I know I’m doing the right thing because I don’t want a brat and I don’t want to be a pushover. I can’t wait to read that article you link to.

  9. PS… I think that it’s refreshing and wonderful how you blog about various subjects other than yourself like most bloggers(including myself) do. It just shows your altruistic nature.

  10. my discipline methods (i am a firm believer in firm discipline= happy kids= happy parents) vary from age to child to crime. having a catch-all method seems a little rigid, and maybe not always effective.

  11. Sorry to be a little late on the uptake here – I’ve only just discovered this little treasure-trove.

    Although I don’t really like the expression “time out”, I do agree with the desired effect. What you go on to describe seems, to me, to be reasonable consequences arising from various undesirable behaviours.

    My problem with the “naughty chair/step” is that it bears no relation to the behaviour. At the very least it is an ineffective form of discipline – at worst it is potentially harmful. I find the conceit of “getting a child to think about what they have done” uncomfortable, but then, can we guarantee that they are thinking anything other than, “I hate you, I hate you, I hate you,” and then having to deal with the associated guilt of having such feelings?

    Naughty Chair? Bah, humbug!

    Supernanny? Schmupernanny…or something…

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