We all know the typical punishments: no TV, you can't go to your friend's house, I'm taking away your favorite toy for X length of time, ... but what are some really creative ones you like?

This one is obviously very situation specific but too creative not to share:
When my sister-in-law was in high school, she was once late one too many times and would be required to get in-school suspension unless given a parent note. She begged her mom but mom refused because the late instances had been repeatedly been due to oversleeping and missing the bus. Finally mom said ok and wrote her the note: "Please give Melissa detention." Melissa didn't look at the note and turned it in. The confused teacher called up mom to ask if this was right. Mom explained that she had indeed written it and it was Melissa's own fault for being late. Melissa got detention and protested: "But I had a note!" The teacher said, "You mean this note?" And showed it to her. Melissa is now 30 years old and is still furious when she thinks about that incident.

My best friend's most effective quasi-punishment for mild infractions is: "Don't make me think up a punishment for you." The kids know that they have to be on their very best behavior or they're in for something and they don't even know what. You get 2 solid days of pure angels.

asked 17 Oct '09, 02:44

Dinah's gravatar image

accept rate: 15%

I would not call "no TV" a punishment. Making them watch TV is the punishment.

(11 Nov '09, 23:09) Mark

I sometimes let my 12 year old son come up with one or two suggestions. The convention is that if they are too lame he'll get a lengthy detention.


answered 18 Oct '09, 18:41

Idstam's gravatar image

accept rate: 22%


Ooooh, I forgot about making them come up with it. Classic and highly effective. I love it

(18 Oct '09, 19:10) Dinah

When I'm in a really bad mood I let his sister suggest punishment if his is too lame. ;)

(18 Oct '09, 19:37) Idstam

Letting their sibling suggest it is an evil twist. I probably shouldn't like that as much as I do :)

(18 Oct '09, 20:15) Dinah

I just suggested this to my wife. She thinks all the kids would either end up hating each other, or would start bargining with each other. :)

(10 Nov '09, 21:04) pipthegeek

+1 I love your answer and am certain that I will try it out at some stage :)

(19 Nov '09, 10:26) Emi

Obviously it depends on the child(ren) and the situation but two things I've been famously quoted for are:

  1. Child actually said to me, "...or you'll do what?" and I replied (without missing a beat) "Something SO terrible I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT!" :-)

  2. Once again, depends on the kid but you can try it... Calmly sit them down and explain the situation/infraction to them then ask them, "If YOU were the parent and I was you... what would YOU do?" Usually the answers are priceless... and a lot of the time THEIR punnishment is WAY worse than anything you could ever think up... so you get to be the "good guy/girl" when you pick something less severe.

Just my 2 cents... hope it helps. :-)


answered 19 Oct '09, 00:19

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accept rate: 25%

1 reminds me of something I did as a camp counselor once. A couple of girls were scaring another with ghost stories, even after she was thoroughly freaked out. I told them to cut it out or I would tell them ghost stories that kept me up at night.

(19 Oct '09, 15:19) mkcoehoorn

I've found that in general, people's own minds are the BEST at coming up with the "worst possible scenario" (to them). So, by being as vague as possible and letting THEIR imagination take over you've got half the battle one. Tip: Works with co-workers too. ;-)

(19 Oct '09, 17:56) KPW

I've done the first one with my kids - "Stop doing that or there will be consequences." "What consequences?" "I don't know yet, but do you really want to find out?" "Um, no...."

(11 Nov '09, 18:24) Graeme

I've got a story that goes something like this: My sister and I were fighting over a water pistol when we were quite young. My mom couldn't stand our bickering and took it from us and said since we couldn't agree on how to share it, neither of us would get to have it.

You'd think it would end there...

But, Mom then put the cheap plastic toy on the ground and stomped on it!

Message received, loud and clear!


answered 17 Oct '09, 03:03

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Chris W. Rea
accept rate: 34%


Showing your kids that breaking stuff out of anger is ok, coud have some negative effects later. I would be cautious, really.

(17 Oct '09, 14:58) Huibert Gill

Mom seemed matter-of-fact about the stomping. She was simply solving a problem, not venting anger. But, I agree: Caution required. Make sure whatever it is isn't expensive, and make sure it won't hurt your foot :-)

(17 Oct '09, 15:53) Chris W. Rea

This is a tough one. It sure is an amusing story, but I'm disturbed that even if not in anger at the moment, it models destroying other people's property because you don't like what they were doing on it. I like the idea of taking away something if they can't play with it nicely or share, but a better approach would be to give it away to somebody needy.

(10 Nov '09, 23:03) lgritz

Considering it was a toy weapon being destroyed -- a water pistol (gun) -- you could say it was peace-promoting act, perhaps. ;-)

(10 Nov '09, 23:28) Chris W. Rea

+1 For your mothers precision, she obviously calculated the effect of her message well :) Sometimes snap reactions do need to be made I see.

Who was the other culprit may I ask? D&C or YMCBuzz :)

(19 Nov '09, 10:33) Emi

YMCBuzz; we're closer in age.

(19 Nov '09, 14:59) Chris W. Rea
showing 5 of 6 show 1 more comments

My husband's worst punishment was when his mom took all his books away.

I had a friend who would not sit still when she was little for her mom to brush her hair until one day her mom cut it all off.

My step mom always made us fold our towels perfectly and if we didn't she used to empty the whole linen closet and we would have to refold the entire mess.

My sister would never clean her room as a teenager and one day my mom went in with garbage bags and took it ALL away - looked like a hotel room afterward.


answered 17 Oct '09, 02:59

dreamerisme's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

edited 10 Nov '09, 20:18

Dinah's gravatar image



I recently cut my daughter's hair because of the fights I would have to go through when I tried to brush it. When she lets me brush it without fussing, she can have it long again. Until then, when she starts to fuss, I'm getting the scissors.

(17 Oct '09, 03:53) mkcoehoorn

I got my room cleaned out with a garbage bin when I was a kid. It only helped for a couple of weeks. I still hate to clean up when somebody tells me to. I will do it when I think it is the time. Now I got my own room in my house which I only clean up when I feel like it :-)

(17 Oct '09, 15:02) Huibert Gill

If we're eating out (McDonalds, etc.) and my son throws a fit about not getting ice cream or soda, we tell him that since he's clearly not appreciating his hamburger, next time we'll bring him a peanut butter sandwich. Tantrum stopped in a hurry! :)


answered 18 Oct '09, 04:13

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Well played! :)

(18 Oct '09, 18:22) Dinah

+1 Absolutely :)

(19 Nov '09, 10:26) Emi

I have never thought punishment should be creative. Just effective. It isn't meant to be fun, not for you or them.

When the kids were younger, being told off was pretty effective. Also a smacked hand and later on, being stood in the corner.

Now they are older, they get grounded or banned from the PC or the Wii. For some offenses we have done all 3!

PS. We grew out of smacking them. Our eldest got quite a few smacked hands, I don't think our youngest has been smacked.


answered 10 Nov '09, 21:21

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edited 11 Nov '09, 14:09

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@Dinah - Regarding your revision of my post, my spelling was the normal UK spelling. PS - Did you used to post on GDN Tavern (LiveThisLife.net)?

(11 Nov '09, 18:54) pipthegeek
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Asked: 17 Oct '09, 02:44

Seen: 11,621 times

Last updated: 11 Nov '09, 14:09