Maybe we need a ‘naughty spot’ to let wayward adults think about errors

Aug 21 2013 - 10:23pm


Now there's an interesting idea.

My daughter recently explained to me that she sends her daughter to a 'naughty spot' on those occasions when the youngster is misbehaving.

Her naughty spot is a patch of carpet not far from the kitchen, where her momma can keep a distant eye on her during the length of her incarceration.

The naughty spot isn't supposed to be used often; it's for those moments when talking and cajoling and threatening just don't cut it. It's kind of a last resort, and is supposed to hold enough dread that the mere mention of it will push a kid back into line.

Lately her 5-year-old is exploring all the possible limits of the naughty spot. Like responding to her mom's threats of going to the naughty spot with, "Well, GOOD! My favorite place is the naughty spot. I'll go sit there right now because that's where I LIKE TO BE!" Or, "I'm on the naughty spot. Now I'm off. Now I'm on. Now I'm off. Now I'm on..." Or, "Hey, look! Alex (her little brother) likes being on the naughty spot with me." Or, "Well, where's your naughty spot for when you're being mean to me?"

I learned my other daughter also has a naughty spot for her kids. She sets the stove timer, and the miscreant knows he or she is stuck there until they hear it go off. Apparently this naughty spot idea is today's alternative to causing kids irreparable emotional harm by spanking their little backsides.

It's also a way of letting moms send their errant children to a distant place, just not the distant planet where they sometimes would like to send them if they had the choice.

A trip to the naughty spot requires much more of a wayward kid than just plunking his bottom down on the carpet and waiting out his sentenced time. He's supposed to think about the wrongful thing he did and decide how he's going to make it better and how he can convince his mom that he won't do it again.

Surprisingly, this usually works. For all the long hours that kids have stretching before them each day, the one thing they hate to do more than anything is sit in one place just thinking. Sometimes it takes a bit of persuasion, but that's remedied by an additional few minutes on the timer. The kids come off the naughty spot usually repentant, or at least willing to alter their behavior to avoid another session.

So here's an idea:

It doesn't take finely tuned observational skills to notice that little children forming their value structures of what's right and wrong behavior aren't the only ones who need a naughty spot.

A disturbing number of adults live in our world who likely might take their entire lives to form some semblance of a value structure -- if ever. Think select sports stars, entertainment celebrities, local and national politicians and even world leaders.

Not to oversimplify the issue, but what if folks who seem to think that crossing the line is simply a way of doing business were sent to a corner to think about what they've done, and were required to do some serious repenting before they could leave the area.

High-profile, misbehaving people might think twice about selfish choices, outrageous behavior, arrogant leadership or disturbing control if they knew a carpet spot in a remote corner was waiting where they had to think about the wrongful thing they've done, decide how they're going to make it better, and how they can convince the world they won't do it again.

They might just come off the naughty spot willing to alter their behavior to avoid another session.

The biggest challenge will be deciding who gets to keep track of the timer.

You can contact D. Louise Brown at

From Around the Web