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Appropriate punishment for kids - The 'naughty corner'

Published:Monday | July 14, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Asha and Mommy Hope. - Contributed


Unlike buying a new car or an appliance, motherhood does not come with a manual. It is a journey travelled by trial and error and words of the wise - those who have been there before. So lets take the journey together in the Flair Magazine's new feature - Mommy Corner. Each week, mothers share the 'tricks' of the trade - what works for them and what doesn't. Let us know what works for you.

My beautiful three-year-old daughter has been defiant from "she born". For the most part, I excused her 'naughtiness' because I figured she did not understand. But then one day, when she was 14 months old, out of frustration, I sent her to the naughty corner and realised she understood much more than I had thought. It was a revelation, and it changed the way we interacted, I think for the better.

On that fateful day, as with all children, she was pushing the boundaries. She kept climbing on to the arm of the sofa - very dangerous.

I took her down and explained the danger - that she might fall and she would cry. In no time, she was at it again. I repeated the explanation and once again removed her. She persisted. So I thought ... hmmmm, how do I get her to obey? I needed to up the ante.


I reminded her that she should not be there, it was dangerous. She stepped back. And then looking me straight in the eyes, she slowly inched her leg back up. (It's as if she thought I couldn't see). So I picked her up and told her it was naughty corner time. I had never used the naughty corner before, but figured, why not? I quickly found a corner I thought worthy, placed her there, looked her in the eye, and wagging my finger explained to her that she was being naughty and that she was not allowed to move until Mommy said so.

Fully expecting her to follow me when I moved, I stepped away. To my pleasant surprise, she stayed put. (I actually peeked in to make sure she was where I left her, and she was). She understood. She was not happy, but she understood, and I was amazed.

My treatment of her subsequently was different. With the realisation of her abilities to understand, there were so many things I could now teach her, and I have.

Now she is three going 30, and I would like to tell you that she is now a well-behaved obedient little girl, but no such luck. She is still my defiant little pumpkin. But at least now she understands very clearly my boundaries and knows there will be consequences if she pushes them. In the end, she always says, "I'm sorry, Mommy," and we hug and say how much we love each other.

Hope McMillan-Canaan, public and corporate affairs manager at Scotiabank.