Creative Consequences for Kids
Lately I've been struggling to come up with the consequences needed to teach and discipline my kids. I find myself caught off guard default to taking away screen time or sending them to time out. They're are tried and true methods, but I want some diversity in the consequences I use so they can align better with situation.
Earlier this week, I asked what punishments you give your kids and everyone was immediately up in arms because I used that word! First, I'm happy our generation doesn’t use the words punish and consequence interchangeably. I did, but I never will again. Consequence truly is a better word. I rarely "punish" my kids. When I have punished them, it’s usually been out of fear and anger on my part. I’m not perfect over here and I’m learning all the things alongside you. Any parent who has it completely figured out, please share all your knowledge because I have yet to find that person (I’m talking about parents in the thick of parenting, not grandparents or nannies or people who have passed the stages).
There's an object lesson from my childhood that I've never forgotten. I was is in Sunday school and one of my teachers brought in a broomstick. The handle of the broom was labeled "choice" and the other end was labeled "consequence." He picked up the handle of the broom told us to observe how the whole broom came with it. The lesson was that you can’t avoid consequences to your actions and choices. Karma may be another word for this.
I kind of love giving consequences to my kids. Is that crazy of me to say? Probably. But I love when my kids get to learn things from their mistakes. I can see them growing and changing! I also love giving positive consequences when they do good things. Consequences are an unavoidable part of life, so helping our kids understand the cause-and-effect nature of their choices is so important.
Let's get to the all ideas you shared. They ranged from insightful to hilarious to downright wild! I love this list and I think I may let my kids choose their consequences from the list sometimes. We are all going to parent differently and you may want to cross out some of these or add your own. Each kid is so different and each age is so different. What works now may not work next week. I think the whole goal is to raise our children to be respectful, amazing people who are capable of making good choices.
TAKE THINGS AWAY
- Kid’s favorite thing
- Video games
- Screen time
- A privilege
- Earlier bedtime
- “Can’t talk sweet, you don’t get any sweets for 24hrs”
- Serve at the local homeless shelter/Food Shelter
- Turn it into acts of service-for neighbors too like yard work
- Don’t take care of your things, donate toys
- Cleaning sibling's rooms
- “Lotion Mom’s spiky hairy legs”
- Rub parents' feet
- Fighting? Stand and hug for 5 minutes
- “When we fought my dad would make us hold hands and sing love at home together”
- “I used to have to hug my brother at the end of the driveway so people would have to see us.”
- Stand nose to nose with sibling, they start to giggle and laugh.
- Sit knee to knee with them and make them say why they love each other
- Older siblings mean to younger siblings? Younger sibling controls play time with older sibling.
- Hold hands
- Get Along T-shirt
- Time in instead of time out, having to not leave your sight for a certain period of time
- Play outside with only things found
- Read a book of your choosing, grounded until they finish it and talk to you about what the book was about
- Write what they did wrong, why it was wrong, and what they will do better
- Sit outside on a bench
- Running laps (outside around house)
- Wall sits
- Cold shower
- Naughty words - hot sauce on tongue
- Hateful speech - copy words from dictionary
- Talking back - write out kind sentences about the person
- Disobedience - read scriptures pertaining to that, then they have to explain what it meant and talk about what happened
- Complain about dinner - Rice and water next day
- Refuse to do chores - charge them a fee since you’ll have to do it
- Mean to someone - apology letter
- Potty talk - has to sit on toilet for x amount of time
- Slams door - remove door - or has to softly close it 100x
- Late for curfew - post an embarrassing picture of them every 5 min on instagram
- “Nasty talk - nasty chore”
- Cleaning baseboards (SO many responses)
- with a Q-tip, LOL
- Extra chores/Sibling’s chores
- Clean toilets
- Pull weeds - they have to fill a 5 gallon bucket or similar
- Pick up bucket of rocks, sticks, pinecones, pine needles from yard
- Picking up dog poop from yard
- Gather dirty laundry, folding laundry, ironing
- Quote from psychologist: “Mundane tasks work well, ie separating legos by color”
- Quote from behavioral therapist: “Punishment is personal, and it will only work if it’s of value for the individual.
MISCELLANEOUS (THESE ARE HILARIOUS)
- Brush teeth, then drink OJ
- Take away a shoe from all pairs
- Sit in bathtub, fully clothed
In addition to ideas for consequences, many of you shared resources and philosophies that have been helpful for you. I'll share those here:MAJOR THEMES MENTIONED
- Natural Consequences
- Consequences over punishment
- Talk to them, kids need connection
- Rewards for positive behavior
- Ask the child what they think the consequence should be
- Consequence aligns with the behavioral issue, related to offense
- 3Rs: Realistic, Respectful, Relevant
- Telling your child “I am disappointed, because that was so out of character for you.”
- Every child is different, and every family is different. Certain things will work for some, and certain things may not.
- @SimplyOnPurpose - SO many people suggested following Ralphie
- Has Ebook called “Old Fashioned Approach to Childhood Chores”
- The Child Whisperer by C. Tuttle
- Changeable by J. Stuart Ablon
- No Drama Discipline by Tina Payne Bryson & Daniel J Siegel
I look forward to trying out some of these ideas and looking into the resources you shared. I loved hearing from all of you and I love that we have a safe space to talk about these things together. I truly believe we all love our kids and are doing the very best we can for them. Thanks in advance for being respectful of people's different approaches in the comments section.
I absolutely hate most of the if/then consequences and some of the others ..because i cant imagine doing that to another person. Our job as parents is to teach and give grace to our kids when they are not perfect. Because no one is! Let the insignificant things go and focus on the things that matter. If it hurts someone/themselves and if it damages something those behaviors have consequences. Other than that let things go and life will feel so much lighter for them (and more importantly you)! Not everything needs a consequence! Focus on the good they do, things that matter, and life definitely gets better.
My kid would complain about dinner every day if he got rice the next day. He loves rice with his whole heart 🤣
Dang, my kids are in college now but I want a do-over. These are great!
Cristi Thompson —
I’m glad you are recommending The Child Whisperer. I think it is valuable to understanding your child’s nature.
The brush teeth and OJ is awesome!!! Hahahaha
Melissa Witherspoon —
I will be using this list !! I was cry laughing when I read
-clean baseboards with Qtip
-brush teeth then drink OJ 😜🤣 (I laugh but I’ve literally done it so I know how cringe it is cringe 😬 😝🥴)
Great ideas and your right after reading this list EVERYONE who follows you just wants to raise Well-Round Respectful Kind Kids♥️