Toxic Shame – An Analysis of Corner Time

A Listful of Horrors

What do Supernanny, the Simpsons and my educational experiences all have in common?

The answer is corner time, the dunce’s corner, standing in the corner, or whatever it’s known as in your part of the world.

Misbehaving youngsters frequently find themselves sitting on the naughty step or naughty circle on Supernanny (my partner’s taste for these shows has proven to be an unintentional mine of useful research material). Bart Simpson was often shown languishing on a chair in the corner (when Homer was not trying to throttle him, that is) and even more so, writing good old-fashioned lines on the chalkboard after school. And then there was me – and quite possibly you, too. Let’s have a look.

By the time I reached primary school, the cane had been more or less abandoned having died a long and drawn-out death over several years.  While it was commonplace a decade or so…

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3 thoughts on “Toxic Shame – An Analysis of Corner Time

  1. Great article! Having grown up in the 1980s I was all quite too familiar with shaming punishments. I had to stand in the corner too many times to count. I was even compared to Willie from Little House on the Prairie. It was definitely a ‘shaming’ experience – standing in the front corner of the room, nose pressed into the corner and then banished completely (only after your buddies had a good laugh at you and tried to get you to get caught not staring at the corner) I’m not sure if it did any long term damage – but it certainly was humiliating at the time. I remember once having to stand in the corner during an assembly in front of the entire school – now that was NOT FUN. To be fair, this punishment was quite common back then. Fortunately, we have come a long way and have discovered that this is not the best method to discipline with.


    1. Thanks Mike – I am glad you liked it. I’m guessing we are of a similar age, for as you say, this was the default method of punishment when I was at school. Do you blog yourself? Thanks for getting in touch 🙂


      1. Hey Thomas,

        I am 45, so most of my schooling was in the 80’s. I don’t have my own blog, mainly just read others. I came across one of your other postings – a music set list – and then read different ones and this one caught my eye, because of my own experiences. Since I posted, I have been trying to analyze my thoughts and see if there were any long term effects b/c of my own time in the corner and I think I am damage free. I mean, almost every day someone ended up there (always the boys) so I guess you couldn’t take it too seriously. Not to downplay it by any means, just trying to understand the times.


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