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7 Non-Traditional Punishments for Very Typical Kids

January 13, 2013

My kids are really pretty good, despite all the times I throw them under the bus in this blog.

However, they do the normal annoying kids things like not listening, whining, not eating, and using the house and furniture as jungle gym equipment.  When they do, my husband and I have come up with an arsenal of consequences for their actions.  (We wouldn’t want to call them punishments and squash their little spirits, now would we?)

  1. I Will Listen To My FathersPunishment for not listening.  The guilty party stands at the bottom of the basement stairs and shouts “ZERO!”  Then s/he runs up the stairs to the main level of the house, rounds the corner, runs up the second staircase to the top floor, looks in the mirror at the top of the stairs and shouts, “I WILL LISTEN TO MY FATHER!” (or Mother, but Daddy invented this one, so he gets the naming rights.) Then run back down both sets of stairs to the starting point and shout, “ONE!” Repeat as many times as assigned.  We’ve done this frequently enough in our house that we can now say, “Give me 4 ‘I Will Listen To My Fathers’ right now,” and they start running.
  2. Zoo animals.  Laps coming.

    Zoo animals. Laps coming.

    Laps Around the House – Punishment for acting like zoo animals.  When they’re climbing the furniture and the walls and have been repeatedly told to calm down, they get laps.  Does not matter the weather or time of day.  That’s what jackets and head lamps are for.  We send them out the front door (usually in pairs since they feed off each other’s energy) and they must run as many laps around the house as we choose.  Sometimes we’ll give them a choice of timeout or laps.  They almost always choose laps.  They come in tired and usually calmer.

  3. Pay Our TollsPunishment for leaving lights on in their bedroom. When we find a light left on, we ask, “Who was the last one in your room?”  The guilty party pays a quarter to the family coin jar.  We’re one of the few EZ-Pass holdouts, so we raid the coin jar and breeze through the exact change lane thanks to our lazy kids.  This may soon expand to the rest of the house, thanks to our latest JCP&L bill.


    Another zoo animal. That’s his cold dinner behind him on the table.

  4. Eat Your Cold DinnerNatural consequence of being a picky eater. I cook one option for dinner every night that includes a protein, a starch, and a vegetable.  If they eat it all (or even the minimum requirement of each item), they get a small treat for dessert.  If they don’t, they can get down from the table, but with no other food for the rest of the night.  I leave their plate on the table until they go to bed.  If they come to me hungry later in the evening, they can eat what they snubbed at dinnertime.  No excuses, no exceptions.
  5. Thunderfoot Re-DoConsequence of noisily pounding down the stairs. All three of my kids are on the small side.  They’re lanky and lightweight.  But they sound like a herd of elephants when they come thundering down the stairs.  When it sounds like our house is about to fall apart from the way they hammer their heels on the stairs, we send them back up or back down and make them redo it “ninja style.”  They do it as many times as it takes for the glasses in the wine rack to not rattle.
  6. Plead Your Case Without WhiningWe only listen if you don’t whine. The kids play together, which means they heinously wrong each other in countless ways.  When a victim comes to us whining and crying to tattle on his or her brother or sister, we send them back out of the room.  They get another chance to come in again, calmly, to tell us in a big kid voice exactly what happened, without breaking down into tears or whining again.  It scares me to see how good our middle child is at this.  We either have a future lawyer or a future master-mind criminal on our hands.
  7. Toy TimeoutPunishment for any number of misdemeanors.  This usually follows a rat-out by a sibling using the previous case-pleading technique. We choose whichever toy is the star of the moment and the toy gets put in a visible, but unreachable spot for a length of time determined by the parent, based on the severity of the crime.  Kid can see their favorite toy, but can’t get it back until they wait out the time and apologize to whomever they wronged.

When our children complain and ask us why we make them do these crazy things, we typically respond,

“Because we’re not allowed to beat you.  Unless you ask.  Your choice!”


What are some of your best non-traditional rules and punishments?

7 Comments leave one →
  1. January 13, 2013 4:44 PM

    I think I might have to try the coin jar one!!! 🙂

    • January 13, 2013 6:59 PM

      And if you have two who share a room like we do, they will blame each other. Then they both pay! 😉

  2. January 13, 2013 4:56 PM

    Genius! I love your creativity.

  3. January 14, 2013 8:54 AM

    I love the punishment for hitting your sibling I saw once. Kid has to stand at the end of the driveway during the day with a big sign that says, “I hit my brother!” for however long the parents determine. Sometimes humiliation is a great deterrent.

    • January 14, 2013 11:20 AM

      Yeah, the “shaming” trend cracks me up. Haven’t had to resort to that yet, but I won’t rule anything out!

  4. Asia permalink
    March 5, 2017 8:50 PM

    Very interesting to me, but uncomprehensible to my husband, who hails from Eastern Europe. Many times when we were raising our children(now proud though young 40 something grandparents) I had to intervene, because his answer to every little thing was to hit and this often led to arguments. I knew that our son especialy needed to have a man around in order to grow up to be a successful young man of color, but at the same time I wasn’t trying to have CPS knocking on my door. When he felt like I was being disrespected he thought nothing of grabbing a child’s ear and hair and threatening them with the wrath of God if they did not ask how high when I spoke. Don’t get me wrong, I am a Southern Belle born and raised in Georgia who thinks children should mind and parents need to stop trying to be their children’s friends, but at the same time I think that if you put your foot down when your children are 1-2 years old and let them consistently know who runs the show, you don’t need to beat and threaten them later. After all children only do what you allow and if you’re one of those frazzled parents always begging and yelling or beating and threatening your children then you’ve failed. My youngest is almost 23 years old now and if I snap my fingers and point or give her a certain look, she automatically knows that I am displeased and will stop. And no I did not have to beat her to get that kind of obedience. On the contrary I spoiled her rotten(still do), but she’s known for 20+ years how far to push me. As I continue to help raise my grandchildren, including the two grandsons my eldest daughter has let run wild then expects someone else to put up with uncomplainingly, I will continue to incorporate alternative methods to train rather than blindly punish.

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