My son is 5 years old and very active and also good in studies. The only problem is he some time becomes very naughty. Some time to the extent that we are pissed off. One thing he does is he mimics every one and starts making weired faces.

He did the same thing in school and his teacher who used to praise him a lot had to lock him up in bathroom.

I want to understand how this punishment can affect my son. The teacher said he is now behaving properly. While I respect these teachers I am still in doubt how good was this act of his teacher.

So far I did not notice in him any sign of emotional distress post this event.

My question from the experts is how to deal with such kids at home and in class and whether the act of teacher will have any negative effect on his personality. What if the teacher repeats this in future? I know the teacher loves and care for him but still trying to understand.

  • You've spoken to her about it? And expressed your desire for her to refrain from this method of time out? How did she respond? Commented Mar 12, 2018 at 5:43
  • @anongoodnurse she herself informed me about this. I don't know what should I say to her. I feel she might get offended.
    – gpuguy
    Commented Mar 12, 2018 at 6:25
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    @gpuguy Did she say it was because she was angry, or did you just infer that? I would find it worrying if a teacher was making decisions purely out of anger at my child, regardless of what the decision was. A teacher who works with that age group should be prepared to act professionally instead of being angered by childish antics. Commented Mar 12, 2018 at 21:05
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    @skymningen That was similar to my first thought. "So your method of handling a child who is misbehaving is to give him unsupervised access to a whole bunch of paper and unlimited water? What could go wrong?"
    – Kevin
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 15:43
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    What is the cultural context here? In the USA, this might be considered bordering on child abuse, but in other places, other norms may prevail.
    – Ben I.
    Commented Mar 25, 2018 at 3:32

4 Answers 4


A teacher should not lock up a child in a bathroom. Leave that for the parents to do if they choose to use that method of punishment. A teacher should be protective of a child under her care in the absence of the parent. Yes, a child might be naughty but im pretty sure there are other ways to give a 5yr old time outs without putting the child in danger. I wouldn't want a teacher locking my son up for sure but rather discuss other methods of punishment thats safe and not abusive.

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    Even for parents, the bathroom probably isn't a good choice as it can be dangerous.
    – Erik
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 6:51

This was definitely not the correct thing to do. You should discuss this with her and let her know that you are not okay with this punishment. Unless you do that, she may resort to the same punishment on other occasions /other kids.

You have observed that your kid is okay and did not suffer trauma, which is a good thing. However, other kids may not react in the same manner. There may be sensitive children who would be distressed with this kind of punishment. The teacher should think about other forms of disciplining children


As a teacher myself I think her method of punishment can be detrimental to the child. I'm glad to hear that your child is ok and not traumatised, but I feel that there are more effective ways to deal with misbehaviour. Mimicking someone and pulling weird faces can just be the child's way of trying to get attention. So I wonder if the class schedule is busy or there are many students in the class, so the teacher finds it difficult to give 1-on-1 time with each student? what other methods of punishment has she tried?

If you don't already, maybe try giving your son quality 1-on-1 attention with no distractions? Also, have a lot of people walked in and out of his life/many life changes?(you don't have to answer that but it's just something for you to think about. I teach a boy who is fostered and he is very active also, and makes funny faces in class. A very experienced teacher suggested that maybe my student is making funny faces to try and see if those people will also leave him :( every child is different though, but hope sharing that with you may help. There may also be other factors causing this behaviour, eg. ADD or ADHD, but best read up on that more before you make a judgement on whether ADD or ADHD is influencing this behaviour. It could very well be he just wants attention and isn't getting much of it in class.

I would be discussing other options of punishment for your child with the teacher and see how the teacher responds. Teachers are taught in training college to communicate openly with parents and respect parents' perspectives and values. Of course there's a balance you need to strike there, but negotiation is key. I encourage you to approach the teacher and ask her thoughts behind her time-out in the bathroom method, then share your thoughts about it. Hopefully you can both negotiate a method that works best for both of you.


I believe teachers should be treated with respect, and they should in return treat the children with respect. Locking up a 5-year-old in a bathroom doesn't sound like there is much respect going around.

The concept of respect should initially come from the parents which, if done properly, makes the teachers task easier.

Having said this, there will always be exceptions and these need to be handled depending on the circumstances. For starters, you shouldn't have to be worried about offending the teacher by questioning her modus operandi. Locking anyone up in a bathroom is not normal behaviour, as I have already stated.

I think it would make sense to discuss the situation with the teacher. The fact that she proffered the information about what she did, means that she isn't trying to hide anything and might be open to discussing alternatives (less radical forms of resolving her inability to handle your child).

The school most likely has a resident psychologist which could be part of the discussions, and who might even be able to offer suggestions.

In the end, punishing a small child for being active or inquisitive or whatever, is not ok.

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    Preschools/kindergartens rarely have psychologists on staff. Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 19:29
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    @anongoodnurse That may be true in some countries, but does it warrant a down vote? Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 19:36
  • I doubt that's why you got a downvote. Commented Mar 14, 2018 at 2:27

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