Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Works for me Wednesday: The Punishment Fits the Crime

Often it feels like as a parent there are 100 things I try with my children for every 2 I find that work. One of the things I love about reading blogs is hearing what works for other parents, because maybe it will work for me too and save all the trial and error!

I've shared our Privilege Chart and The Capture Monster before in WFMW, but the other method of consequencing kid behavior that has worked best in our home is Making the Punishment Fit the Crime.

Here are some of the ways I've used this method with super results:

Crime: While on a car trip 6 year old announces from the back seat that he has some trash he needs thrown away. Mom replies, "We're stopping to eat right up here, just hold onto it and you can throw it away when you get out." Instead of obeying, 6 year old throws the trash into the front seat, narrowly missing Mom's head.

Punishment: "Oh, it's too bad you chose to do that, now you will clean all the trash out of the car when we stop."

Crime: 3 year old daughter is whining about something.

Punishment: "It sounds like you need to rest; go to your room until your voice doesn't sound whiney anymore."

Crime: 4 year old son pinches 2 year old sister's cheek very hard and leaves an ugly red mark.

Punishment: 4 year old son looses favorite toy. When he asks (and he will ask), "When do I get it back?" you calmly reply, "When that red mark is gone from your sister's face." Son will then ask, "But what if the red mark never goes away?" You reply, "then you'll never get the toy back." Son will check sister's face with much concern every 15 minutes for the next day and a half until mark disappears.

Crime: 6 year old son is playing around when you've told him it was time to get ready for baseball practice. Child horses around so much causing you to be 10 minutes late to the practice.

Punishment: Child must walk up to coach and apologize for being late. For all but the most outgoing child, this will be awkward enough to get them ready on time for practice the rest of the season!

(This next one is my favorite and has just recently played out in our home)

Crime: 6 year old son and 3 year old daughter have taken to the adorable phrase, "poopy diapers" and use it with glee, often, even at meal times.

Punishment: After days of warning kids several times that it is not a nice thing to say, Mom says, "Since you guys are so interested in poopy diapers, the next time your baby brother has a dirty diaper, the two of you are going to help me clean him up."

Did you know discipline could be this fun? If you have any good ones, I'd love to hear them!

Find more Works for Me Wednesday at We are THAT Family.


  1. I like this a lot and had a great laugh reading them!!

  2. Great post! I will try some of these with my four. Thanks!

  3. Great ideas! I will have to try some of these out!

  4. I love your ideas! My daughter is 2, and I am exploring discipline/reward methods other than the standard time-out routine. I really like your privilege chart also.

  5. ha ha, sounds like the Love and Logic method - empathy with lots of natural consequences. :-)

  6. Love these, perfect for the kids, gives the adults something to laugh about later when the kids can't see.


I'd love to hear what you think!