The once popular parenting technique of popping a little one on the naughty step to think about their actions is now being phased out, with nurseries saying that they no longer use the term or the method due to its “negative connotations”.
A recent poll of 1,000 nursery workers, by daynurseries.co.uk, revealed that 74 per cent of nurseries said they do not agree with having a ‘naughty step’ - where children are asked to sit in a particular place and reflect on what they’ve done.
Instead, staff are encouraged to take children to one side and talk them through why some things are acceptable and some are not.
What’s more 95 per cent of nursery staff are not allowed to call children naughty and should use other ways to manage behaviour instead.
The findings of the study were discussed on ‘Good Morning Britain’, and sparked a divide between studio guests and parents.
Host Piers Morgan described the new discipline proposal as a “pathetic joke”, arguing that ditching the method for controlling bad behaviour would hinder children’s preparation for the real world.
“We are teaching them that the world is soft and lovely and no-one is going to say no to you and everyone wins a participation prize even if you come last,” he said.
“And now we’re not going to call you naughty. Do you think this prepares kids for the real world? The real world is not like that.”
'Now we're not even going to call you naughty, do you think this prepares kids for the real world?' @piersmorgan has his say on whether we should ban calling children 'naughty.' pic.twitter.com/AUhIP4flqv
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) July 1, 2019
Parenting coach Anita Cleare felt the move would have negative connotations in that stripping away a clear reward/punishment schemes could be confusing for youngsters.
Behavioural specialist Lorrine Marer, disagreed, however, pointing out that discussing a child’s behaviour with them was a better method of discipline.
And parents are also divided about the move away from the traditional method of punishment.
Many agreed with Piers Morgan that banning the word ‘naughty’ and doing away with methods like the ‘naughty step’ was another form of wrapping children up in cotton wool.
Generations of young people are being let down by this kind of thinking, draping our children in cotton wool and entitlement! The lack of discipline they receive is one of the reasons some of our children cannot cope in the real world.
— Dante (@mambamoss) July 1, 2019
If you don’t tell children that what they are doing is wrong how will they ever learn the difference between right and wrong?
— Janthea46 (@janthea46) July 1, 2019
This is why kids are like they are, no discipline. Parents, teachers, even the police are no longer allowed to discipline them without it being called mental abuse.
— David 🎗 (@cfwarrior67) July 1, 2019
If a child is misbehaving then it is the duty of adults to correct them. If they don’t then these kids are going to enter a society where people dislike them because calling kids naughty in 2019 gave people the hurty feelys.
— Matthew Gardner (@TheMattofG) July 1, 2019
But some parents were in agreement with nursery staff that it wasn’t the best way to control bad behaviour.
@GMB @piersmorgan the problem with using the word naughty is that it is rarely counteracted by a frequently used positive term to rewards the great things children do. If attention is what children crave why not simply ignore the unwanted behaviour or even better role model?
— Joelle Bergin (@joellebergin) July 1, 2019
I would say it's more about children having self-worth and not thinking negatively about themselves. There are ways in which someone can be told they need to do better.
— 💕 Esther 💕 (@Esther24365906) July 1, 2019
Calling my daughter naughty was sending her crazy.
She was being naughty with out realising it. And we were all punishing her. To teach her not to. But its not that straight forward. When a child as autisim.
This causes bad behaviour .You use other ways.
— juliebrooman (@juliebrooman) July 1, 2019
Commenting on the findings of the survey Sue Learner, editor of daynurseries.co.uk, said: “It is interesting that the word ‘naughty’ has become a dirty word. I do think if you label a child as naughty it can become self-perpetuating and lead to more bad behaviour.
The spokesperson goes on to say that nurseries seem to be taking a step away from the naughty step and instead adopting a ‘thinking chair’ or ‘thinking corner’ to make the practice sound more reflective than punitive.
“The ‘naughty step’ became popular during the time of the TV Supernanny and has evolved over time into the ‘thinking chair’. It seems that an increasing number of nurseries are now also ditching that for ‘thinking time’.
"Every nursery needs some kind of strategy to deal with a child’s disruptive behaviour but these ‘thinking chairs’ need to be monitored to ensure they are not being overused or a child is not sitting there for too long feeling miserable and sad.”
The use of the word ‘naughty’ isn’t the only parenting debate that is dividing the Internet right now.
David Beckham continues to defy the parenting police by kissing his daughter, Harper on the lips, despite criticism from some, including Piers Morgan.
Last month a mum has ignited a parenting discussion about whether it is ok to let her seven-year-old daughter watch ‘Love Island’.
A stay-at-home mum also kicked off a debate after asking if it was reasonable to expect her husband to pay her a salary.
In May, a mum sparked a discussion about whether partners should be allowed to stay overnight in maternity wards after the birth of their baby.