Creative Punishments for Children


Authored by Kate Beswick in Parenting 
Published on 09-01-2009

When it comes to raising our kids, disciplining them is no doubt one of the biggest jobs of all! It seems we as parents are always trying to guide our children back to the right path and teach them what is right and wrong. There are many different theories on discipline. Whether you should spank or shouldn’t, and where timeouts should be held and for how long. But while spanking and timeouts have become old standbys for parents, they just don’t work with some kids. And what about older children? They still need to be disciplined, even though they’ve outgrown spankings and timeouts. This is when parents need to really get creative. Only a fitting punishment for the crime will work. And parents often have to find new ways of doing things to get their message across.

The most creative punishments are usually those that fit the misdeed perfectly. If a child has drawn all over the walls, it makes sense that they should be the ones to clean the walls. Even very young children can do this. And instead of making them clean only the areas where they have drawn, parents can get even more creative. Being forced to clean every wall in the house will certainly be a better reminder than just washing the small spot where they have drawn.

Teaching children to pick up their own toys and take care of their things is one of the biggest challenges that parents face. It’s extremely frustrating when you’ve just bought your son a new bike only to see him throwing it around the lawn, kicking it, or riding it dangerously. The good news is that even though this can be a big challenge, it’s one of the easiest to fix! Simply tell the child that the next time they disrespect their belongings, that toy or item will be given away to charity. Being able to see that not treating toys properly results in those things being taken away will do wonders for keeping those toys intact!

The punishment of giving away toys also works very well for children who can’t respect other people’s toys or belongings. If your daughter just can’t seem to play nicely with her sister, or leave her sister’s things alone, tell her that the charity rule still applies. For every toy that she ruins of her sister’s, she will have to give one of her own toys to charity. This will surely make her stop and think twice before dragging her sister’s favorite stuffed teddy all over the ground!

Older children are often the group that needs the most creative punishments. This is partly because they’ve outgrown spankings and timeouts. But older children can still fully benefit from a punishment that fits the crime. If you can’t get your child to stop testing out swear words, make him hold a dictionary for 5 minutes. The trick is that they need to hold it straight out in front of them, with their arms perfectly straight. This will become difficult after just a minute or so and their arms may even begin to hurt a tiny bit. After the 5 minutes is up, tell them to learn a new word from the dictionary they were just holding and that this word should replace the vulgar one. The next day, they’ll still be feeling the burn from holding the thick dictionary, which is a great reminder not to say it again!

Generally using a punishment that is directly related to the wrongdoing is the best way to get your child’s attention. Simply think about the end result that you would like, such as clean walls, and consider how you can incorporate your child into attaining that final result. Hopefully, it will be all them doing the work and not you! This allows your child to understand why what they’ve done is wrong. And it will also give them a great reminder for next time!


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