The other day, our twelve year old daughter yelled at her very patient dad, called him several names, and said he was the biggest jerk on the planet. She had never acted this rude to him before so he wanted to make it pretty clear that this wasn’t OK.
Sometimes kids just don’t care if they get grounded!
He sent her to her room for time out. She said she didn’t care. So he told her she was grounded for a week and took her cell phone away. She also didn’t care. She was in one of those amazingly wonderful 12-year-old moods!
So I suggested that he take all her books away. What? Books? Why would a kid care if you take books away? Some kids might even love that. Well, books just happen to be my daughter’s most cherished items. Whenever she has spare money, she buys a new book. She has read each of her books several times. She has even read the entire Harry Potter series a whopping 17 times. So yeah, I suggested he take her books away.
He started loading up all her books into a laundry bin and hauling them out while our daughter begged and pleaded for him to give her a different punishment. She promised she would never be rude to him again and swore she would be different from now on. Well, since then, she has been slowly earning back one book per day depending on how good she is that day. It’s working wonderfully!
In real life, there is always that one child who just doesn’t care when you use the typical discipline methods. You can only take away privileges, cell phones, toys, car keys, video game controllers, TV cords, desserts, etc. so many times before you realize these things are just not working. That’s when parents have to get creative. The key to creative discipline is to think of something that really matters to the child. Every kid has a negotiation point.
What Other Parents Are Trying
Here are some funny discipline methods I have heard of others using:
- Remove the Door. I’ve heard of lots of parents that have problems with kids slamming their bedroom doors and finally getting to the point where they just have to remove the door. Can’t slam it if it’s not there. Another variation of this is to have the child shut the door 100 times softly.
- Curfew Clown. Kami over at My Life Tree has a scary clown mask that she hides in different places if her kid comes home late. Imagine the startle they get when try to sneak into the room late at night in the dark only to run into a freaky looking clown!
- Hug A Tree. One parent was frustrated with her kids unwillingness to help out with yard work so she made them hug all their trees. Took them a while since they had quite a few.
- Put Their Toys “Away”. Some children conveniently forget to put away their toys every time they get them out. A few parents have told me that when this happens, they just put their kid’s toys away in a random secret location and the next time the child wants the toys they have to hunt for them.
- Play Awful Music. One parent uses an unusual tactic for when her teens get too loud in the house. She turns on annoying preschool songs until they quiet down. Nothing like hearing “5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed” over and over!
- Make Them Go Barefoot. When one child wasn’t doing a good enough job with his chore of cleaning up the dog doo from the back yard, his dad made him go out in the yard barefoot afterwards. Apparently, the child started doing a better job after that. Nothing worse on your bare feet than dog doo!
- Take Their Shoes Away. A friend of mine had a son who removed his shoes in church and threw them across the room, hitting two people in the back of the head. Imagine how mortified she was when those people turned around to see who threw the shoes. After that happened, her son came to church without shoes for quite a while!
- Drop and Give Me Twenty! Some parents make their kids do push-ups when they misbehave. At least they will be fit!
- Window Washing. When two siblings are fighting, some parents have them clean opposite sides of the same window. This supposedly leads to epic silly faces and lots of laughs.
- Fill Out an Incident Report. One mom I know has a policy that when one of her kids tattles on another kid, they have to fill out an incident report. It requires them to list out who was involved and all the details, including what happened before the incident. Usually by the time they are done filling it out, they would rather just go play than have to deal with it anymore.
Even though some of these above ideas are pretty funny, just remember that you love your children and their feelings matter. So it is always best to try and balance your discipline efforts with love and kindness. Be sure to let them know that you still love them even when they make mistakes.
My favorite advice is to always try to see the humor in every situation. Keeping things lighthearted and fun goes a long way toward making family life a lot better for everyone. If discipline is a real struggle for you, I recommend reading this book called Parenting With Love And Logic. It’s my favorite parenting method and has made a big difference in our home.
What are some creative discipline methods that you have used?
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Thanks for stopping by. Be happy. Keep it real!