Nanny’s on the naughty step

Herald on Sunday Apr 12, 2009

Behaviour-control methods such as time-out and sending children to the “naughty step” are unprofessional teaching tactics in preschools, says an Auckland academic. Unitec lecturer Pauline Bishop’s comments have left early childhood centres scrambling for answers about what to do with naughty children – while other experts say Bishop is out of step. Bishop, a lecturer with 20 years’ experience in early childhood education, told an Early Intervention Association conference in Auckland last week that behaviour-control techniques popularised by TV’s Supernanny were unprofessional for teachers. They also breached the United Nations (UN) Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the national curriculum. She said Supernanny’s techniques were fine in homes, but not in childhood centres. Rather than punishing children, teachers should be teaching them about their wrongs.

…Parenting guru Ian Grant, of Parents Inc, who has written books and runs seminars, said that time-out and the naughty corner should stay – they taught children the consequences of their actions. “Otherwise they grow up and think the world is theirs,” he said. “She [Bishop] comes from an era where the child does the parenting and runs the family. Parents have got to be the big people.” He said children “feel and act” and caregivers needed to teach children to “feel, think and act”. Giving a child time-out, along with guidance, gave them time to think about their behaviour. However, Grant was not a fan of Supernanny, calling Jo Frost the equivalent of an “A&E of hospitals … she has to deal with wimpy parents who let them [children] run their lives”.