As Destiny has gotten older, we have started giving her the responsibility of choosing her punishment. One especially difficult evening, Dale had enough of her disobedience, and told Destiny that she had until the end of supper to make a decision:
- Lose a new Christmas toy for an undetermined amount of time
- Get a spank
Her meal was spent in silent contemplation, as she considered her choices. And boy, did that last bite sit on her plate for a looong time. We could really tell she was struggling with her decision. Dale decided since it was a first offense and the first time we had offered such a decision, to show her grace, this time. He told her so and clearly layed out what would occur the next time around.
Later, she left him this note:
It was a hard decision. Thank you for showing me grace.
Think she got the point?
Yup. She sure did. From start to grace, she got it. And it hasn’t happened again, not yet anyway.
We also have some “back up” disciplines for more minor offenses:
We have a “Boo-Hoo Bed” for whiney, tearful children. They must go sit on their bed until they are ready to be happy, then they may choose to come out.
We also have “The Toy Prison” on top of the fridge. If toys are fought over, they become mine and I hold them hostage on top of the fridge until they can play nicely together with that toy.
“The Trash Monster”, this is a giant white trash bag that comes out after the timer goes off, signaling clean up time is over. Any toys not cleaned up or not put in their appropriate home after the timer goes off, get eaten by The Trash Monster and stay in his tummy until further notice.
As our children get older, we plan to implement some of the following “Creative Discipline” techniques we’ve adapted from Focus on the Family: (Click this link for full article series, it’s a good one!)
- For every article of dirty clothing left on the floor rather than placed in the hamper, have your child make five trips from the place where the clothes were dropped to the hamper. The child must pick up the clothes, walk to hamper and put the article in, take it back out, return to where it had been dropped, drop it again, pick it up again, and then repeat the cycle.
Throwing a Fit
- Does your child slam the door when she’s angry? You might tell her, “It’s obvious that you don’t know how to close a door properly. To learn, you will open and close this door, calmly and completely, 50 times.”
- If your child likes to stomp off to his room or stomp around in anger, send him outside to the driveway and tell him to stomp his feet for one minute straight.
- If your child asks for something and then argues or throws a fit when you tell her no, tell her that no matter what she asks for, from that moment on the answer will be an automatic no until she can accept the answer “no” respectfully.
Controlling the Tounge
- You’ve heard the reprimand “Hold your tongue!” Make your child do it — literally. Have her stick out her tongue and hold it between two fingers. This is an especially effective correction for public outbursts.
- Kids can lose the privilege of talking when necessary. Explain that being able to express yourself is a gift. If they abuse that privilege, either by hurting someone’s feelings, speaking inappropriately, or just making needless noise, they cannot speak for a predetermined amount of time. This is especially painful if during that time they have something important to say. It underscores the privilege of speaking and makes them think more carefully about their words.
- Adjust bedtimes according to our children’s behavior that day. For each infraction, they must go to bed five minutes earlier, but if they’ve been extra good, they can earn the right to stay up an extra five minutes.
- Having a struggle at bedtime? Try this: Next time you’re dealing with the usual bathroom trips, cups of water, giggling, and talking, call off bedtime. Declare, “Nobody has to go to bed tonight!” Inform them that they may stay up as long as they like — the operative words being stay up. Then have each child stand still in the middle of a separate room of the house. Their warm, comfy beds will look awfully good after just a few minutes of standing alone.
- Down time with your husband in the evenings is important, we put our kids to bed very early compared to their friends’ bedtimes. For instance, as a Destiny gets old enough, we may continue to put her to bed at seven, but she’ll be allowed to stay up and read until eight. If your child is notorious for leaving her clothes on the floor, however, try this: For every piece of clothing lying on the floor when mom comes in to say goodnight, the reading time is reduced by 10 minutes.
- If you have trouble enforcing the “lights out” rule in your house, make it easy on yourself with this rule. If you put your children to bed, only to look down the hall and see the light shining under the door, simply unscrew the light bulb until they can learn to appreciate the privilege of responsibility.
- Does your child tend to act up during dinner? Try sending him, along with his plate of food, into the other room to eat alone at the dining room table until he can settle down.
- If you have a chair tilter, or a child who can’t seem to stay seated to eat, the child is required to remove it from the table and finish her meal standing.
- If you have a child who continually forgets to turn off the lights, make her go a day without using anything that requires electricity. She’ll soon get the point.
- This correction works well if you have a child who is constantly leaving his jacket, backpack, or any other personal belonging behind: Require him to baby-sit the item for the rest of the day. It must be carried during mealtime, playtime, bath time, and bedtime. If your child is caught without it at any time, an additional day is added to the sentence, beginning when they arrive home from school the next day.
- Destiny is constantly taking out her headband or hair bow and leaving them at school. We charge her a dollar a day for the forgotten item.
- When the kids run up and down the stairs after having been told not to, have them crawl up and down on their bottoms. Use the same principle for running through the house, only have them crawl on all fours to get to where they were going in such a hurry.
- Kids intuitively know that we’re reluctant to correct them in public. Call their bluff. The next time your young one starts acting up in a restaurant or store, warn her first that if she doesn’t straighten up she will have to stand in a corner in public. If she doesn’t believe you and continues to misbehave, point to a nearby corner in the restaurant or store and require her to stick her nose there for five minutes. It’s sure to make a lasting impression!
Help your kids grow into healthy and godly adults, by balancing love AND limits! You’ll never be sorry, and life at home will be so much better!
Goodbye, pushover parenting! Hello, happy kids! 🙂
Some good reads about this subject:
Cleaning House: A Mom’s Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth
Have a New Kid by Friday: How to Change Your Child’s Attitude, Behavior & Character in 5 Days