Supernanny’s book and the Dawn of Discipline

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We knew this day would come, but it would seem that the terrible twos have arrived. I’ll be honest I don’t think he is actually that terrible but there is definitely an edge to his behaviour lately that we haven’t seen before. The tantrums are worse than before and there is some serious defiance going on – so it is definitely time for some firmer discipline.

But what discipline? We are not fans of smacking, it just isn’t for us. I have blogged recently about Monkey’s love of counting, so counting to 3 in the hopes he stops before I reach 3 failed miserably the once I tried it as he then just started off counting on his fingers!

Years before becoming pregnant or even meeting my husband I was a big fan of the Supernanny programmes on TV. I just liked her no-nonsense attitude to children and behaviour so when I knew the toddler stage was approaching I found a book written by Jo Frost, AKA Supernanny, entitled Confident Toddler Care. On the whole I find the book really useful as it contains many of her no-nonsense techniques, that are now famous from the television shows.

My one criticism of the book so far is her comments on fussy eating – where she says “parents create the ‘fussy’ eater.” Being the parent of a fussy eater who has struggled since he was 13 months old I resent this comment and it puts my back up. I know how hard we have tried to prevent fussiness and stop it when it arrived. We are definitely in a better place than we once were, but he is still definitely fussy. Some days more so than others. While I can see what she is saying about pandering to fussiness, blaming it wholeheartedly on the parents, when I think some of it is natural inclination, does rile me a little! That is just my personal opinion and anyway I am digressing slightly!

Over time we have found this book to be really useful. Sometimes just re-affirming that we are doing the right thing when hit by those moments of parenting doubt (I am sure it’s not just us who has them!). Then there are the bigger things, like transitioning from cot to bed, that we have needed help with. I blogged at the time about how we used her ‘stay in bed’ technique which really worked for us.

With regards to discipline, the tactic I have always had in the back of my mind, is The Naughty Step/Spot/Chair. Supernanny didn’t invent this as I remember my Mum using the Naughty Chair with my little brother. At 4 years older than him I was always asking, “why doesn’t he just get off? It’s just a chair??!” But Supernanny must definitely made it more popular with her TV shows. So I have read up about this in her book and had it ready to use, but only for something that couldn’t be solved with just a firm tone (which thankfully has always worked until now).


One day recently Monkey was incredibly defiant and refused point blank to get dressed. We knew the day for firmer discipline would soon be upon us and I’m afraid that day I refused to chase him round the living room so the naughty corner was introduced for the first time. I know we are lucky that we haven’t had to use it before but the step up in the defiance was a clear sign to me that it was time.

It felt a bit of a farce as he kept getting up and actually was laughing his head off at one point, but I know with a lot of these things you really have to prove to your child that you are going to see it through, that you mean what you say, and that means you can’t give in before they do! It took a while but eventually he got it. He cried his eyes out, stayed put and gave me a cuddle and said sorry at the end. He also then got dressed with no fuss. Phew! Since then I have only had to use it once as the threat of it has now been enough to get him to do as we ask.

The other time I had to use it was actually at my friend’s house, which wasn’t fun but was seriously necessary as he had an epic tantrum. His tantrums have definitely increased lately, which I guess is all part of terrible twos and he got so angry when I said he couldn’t have any more cake (as it was there for other people to eat) and he was trying to knock everything off the table,  and was hitting me. Honestly I saw red and had to do something. It did work, though I felt miserable at the time and was actually with a friend who was talking about whether she is ready to have children. As you can imagine seeing that behaviour didn’t exactly convince her of the merits of child-rearing!! It did work though and he was much calmer afterwards thankfully.

So so far the naughty step seems to be working, in the same way that many of her other techniques have so far. Of course every child is different and different things work for different children, but with all her years of experience she does have some good insights into toddlers and their behaviour, so it is well worth a read!

By purchasing through any of the affiliate links on this page I would receive a small commission on the purchase, however I bought this book with my own money and all opinions are entirely my own. Any commission received would go towards the upkeep of this blog. 

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37 thoughts on “Supernanny’s book and the Dawn of Discipline

  1. I’ve been a bit rubbish at disciplining over the past few years, not really introducing a ‘naughty step’. The worst tantrums JJ ever had (in public) left me feeling so utterly destroyed emotionally that I burst into tears when we got home and seeing me in that state was the one thing that made him realise that his behaviour needed calming. Not that I’d advocate that as a technique! 🙂

    • Oh bless you I can completely relate to that and great that he made that realisation! Very clever boy you have there! xx

  2. Looks like a useful read. My kids both go on the naughty step when necessary, and I hear you about the fussy eater thing! I know what she means, of course, but Little Man’s definitely fussier than Boo, and they’ve both been treated the same, so it is part natural inclination, I think x

    • It is useful, just as a good reminder that you are on the right path sometimes! It is interesting isn’t it and I just don’t think it’s that simple. I can understand what she means too, but it just feels like too much of a sweeping statement for me to be happy with it! xx

  3. I’m quite lucky that we havn’t had any issues really with behaviour this far. Though I think I would purchase this just to see what her thoughts are on different things, interesting to see what others perspectives are on parenting. Like you I watched her over the years too way before having Mini. I’m sure this is interesting reading.

    • Oh that is good, I think we’ve been pretty lucky on the whole too really but I definitely think this helps, with understanding what a toddler is thinking sometimes! xx

    • This is it, I know she didn’t invent it, but she uses it well! It is a great, easy tool that kids seem to relate to! xx

  4. I have wanted to read her book but just have not gotten up to buy it seeing how i don’t have many problems with my children. But she does have some great tecniques to help prevent the little problems.

    Great post, thanks for sharing at the Tried and Tested link up

    • Thank you, I know what you mean and it’s good that you haven’t flt you need it! She has some great ideas for so many things though 🙂 xx

  5. I agree, I’ve used a few of her techniques when needed and they’ve helped but I too have a fussy eater from around the same age as Monkey and I don’t believe we created it at all. Her little brother will eat pretty much most things and they have been brought up exactly the same as far as I’m aware. It’s just one of those things sometimes and I refuse to take the blame for it or overly stress about it-they will cone round in their own time.

    • Yeah I think she has great ideas but theres only so much responsibility we can take for things like eating, they have their own personalities and likes or dislikes after all – and we can only do so much! xx

  6. I’m pleased you’ve found something that is working hon. I think identifying bad behaviour triggers and trying to stop it in its tracks before escalation is a good tactic. We’ve used time outs with and without success over the years. My friend bought me one of Jo’s books as a baby presentfirst time round, she has some uuseful advice. Another book that I can’t recommend highly enough is ‘how to calm a challenging child’ xx #sharewithme

    • Thanks hon, you’re definitely right about nipping it in the bud, the longer a behaviour goes on for the harder it has got to be to change! Ooh not heard of that but will have a look, thanks for the tip! x

  7. We have used the naughty step fairly successfully from quite an early age. I have a lot of time for Jo Frost and I like a lot of her ideas. Thanks for linking up with #TriedTested

  8. Thankfully N hates being told off so a stern word usually does the trick. We do have a naughty step, and the few times we’ve used it, it has worked. The worst was at Granny’s house when he wouldn’t sit on his chair at tea. He was crying on the naughty step while we carried on eating, but he’s not done anything to warrant needing it since.

    • Oh that’s good, Monkey is pretty similar but it is good to have it in the bag for those odd occasions isn’t it? xx

  9. Great post, I too bought super nanny’s book, although not this one, one of the first ones a few years ago. Some of the advice was spot on for me, as I have never smacked my kids and I do use other forms of discipline. It’s a balance really of common sense and a few handy tips. Lovely to hear your story 🙂 #sharewithme

    • Thank you and you are exactly right, common sense with some handy tips too, it’s why i like it, most of it makes perfect sense to me when reading it and putting it into practice! xx

    • That is definitely the best way as we are all different so I doubt any one book will appeal in everything, though I do like her take on most things 🙂 xx

  10. I like watching Jo frost’s programmes. We have a naughty step in our house but we do not need to use it very often, both girls know where it is and what the rules are, they also go there to calm down if they are cross, Little 2 takes herself there sometimes. #sharewithme

    • Aw that is so cute! Lovely that they take themselves there to calm down, and also great that you don’t need to use it often 🙂 xx

  11. I have to say that I used to watch Supernanny before I had kids and I thought she was great. I don’t really follow books now I have Grace but if I followed anyone it would be Jo Frost. I love your disclaimer by the way 🙂 Thank you for linking to PoCoLo 🙂 x

    • haha thank you, am just getting to grips with disclaimers and things! I do like her, I can go for ages without reading it but I always feel more confident after I have read up about something xx

  12. Watched her show before as it is good. Sensible enough but there are things that I can do and things that I cant. I have a fuzzy eater too. I borrowed her book thinking I can be a better mother because of it but I cant really book that thick. But I still watch her reruns. Its easier to get tips in there for me than the book. #pocolo

    • Yeah that’s fair enough and her tv shows are quite good, I do like a book but it’s personal preference really! xx

  13. I definitely need a few pages out of this book. Great post. I can relate with Buba before we went on vacation his attitude was starting and the sarcasm was even creeping in at such a young age. So far while on vacation now so much but I assume that’s just all the adventures keeping him busy. But the boredom of every day home life will soon come back and I am sure it will come again. So I will have to keep this post at hand. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me. I am sorry that I haven’t commented until now we had no power due to a storm for two days. Just catching up. #sharewithme

    • Oh don’t apologise honey it’s fine and you’re on vacation!! I am glad Buba is doing better while you’re away but definitely bear her book in mind if he gets a bit cheeky again when you get home! xx

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