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Zero Tolerance

We have two boys, coming up to 4 & 5 years old. Like all young children, they’ve had their fair share of tantrums. I have always been a ‘firmer’ parent and have struggled when they tested the boundaries. When the boys were younger, I was addicted to parenting programs such as super nanny. I watched attentively and carried out all the given advice from sleep time, naughty step routine and reward charts. I want well-behaved children with manners and respect.

For a time, a short time, the naughty step routine worked quite well for my eldest until he started using the naughty step as his nap-time! Within 2-3 minutes, he’d be fast asleep!!! Not the outcome I wanted! My youngest is a little behind due to being poorly at birth. He struggles with communicating and his level of understanding is not great to be honest.

The problem for my youngest was the ‘warnings’. I would go to his level, speak to him firmly about his behaviour and explain that he would be sent to the naughty step if he carried on. This warning would send him into a rage! He would have the biggest tantrum and it would last for over half an hour, sometimes longer. Even nursery was experiencing the same reaction.

We decided to completely scrap the ‘warnings’ and simply place him on the naughty step without saying a word. He knew where the naughty step was so our point was being made. He would sit there quietly for the required time and when I returned he would apologies and listen while I explained why his behaviour was not acceptable, then we would have cuddles and kisses.

This routine is far more effective than giving out warnings and it works even better with our eldest son.

One instance was when our 4 year old drew on ‘mummy’s new cream cushions!!!!!! …with a blue felt tip pen!!! His daddy simply gave him the cushion, placed him on the naughty step (with the cushion) and left him there, without saying a word, for 3 minutes to think about what he had done, with the reminder in his hands! This was far more effective than shouting at him or punishing him. He was clearly very sorry and to this day, has never drawn on anything since.

My view is that sometimes ‘warnings’ can prolong the issue. If you have zero tolerance for unacceptable behaviour from the start, then gradually, they will understand the boundaries.


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