Child Discipline

21 Creative Consequences


21 creative consequences

Disciplining our children takes dedication and effort.  It also helps to mix in a little creativity when needed.  The creative consequences below from parenting expert, Lisa Welchel, might seem a little strong, but let them inspire you to come up with your own, and pair them with the 7 Steps to Tried and True Discipline.

1. If time-outs don’t work, try a “time-in.” This can be accomplished by sending your child to a designated spot where he must complete a task that has a definite beginning and end. This could be putting together a small puzzle, stringing 50 beads on a piece of yarn, or tracing the alphabet. A time-in diverts his energies and encourages him to focus on something positive.

2. Timers set definite boundaries. For example, with a timer, you can say, “I’m setting the timer. I want your room cleaned (or your shoes on, or the dishes unloaded) in 15 minutes. If you haven’t finished by then, your correction is….” This method not only spurs on easily distracted children, but it also leaves little room for arguing about a job that isn’t finished and whether the correction is warranted.

3. Make a homemade “Correction” can and fill it with tickets or slips of paper with various consequences written on them. Instead of giving your child a time-out, send her to the can for a slip. A few ideas might include no TV or computer for a night, early bedtime, or an extra chore. Toss in a blank piece of paper, a “mercy” ticket. This gives you an opportunity to talk about how God gives us mercy even when we deserve punishment.

4. If you repeatedly open the door to your child’s room only to catch him in an act of disobedience, take your child’s bedroom door off the hinges. It sounds harder to do than it actually is. And it works wonders!

5. Adjust bedtimes according to your children’s behavior that day. For each infraction, they must go to bed five minutes earlier, but if they’ve been good, they can earn the right to stay up an extra five minutes.

6. An especially tough but effective correction for teenagers who forget to wear their seat belts is to add an additional day past their sixteenth birthday before they can take their driver’s test. Hey, it’s important!

7. If you have dawdlers, try this: Whoever is last to the table at dinnertime becomes the server. But there’s a catch. Even if you’re first, your hands must be clean, of you’ll end up serving the food, pouring the drinks, and fetching the condiments (after washing your hands, of course!).

8. If your children are constantly turning in sloppy schoolwork, get a few photocopied pages of printing or cursive exercises. (These can be found at any teachers supply store.) Then ask your haphazard child this: “What takes longer: a report done neatly in 15 minutes or one you’ve sped through in 10 that must be redone and warrants a page of handwriting practice?”

9. You’ve heard the reprimand “Hold your tongue!” Make your child do it-literally. Have her stick out her tongue and hold it between two fingers. This is an especially effective correction for public outbursts.

10. My friend, Becki, tried a variation on this idea in the car. If things got too raucous or there was too much fussing between siblings, she would cry, “Noses on knees!” Her children then had to immediately touch their noses to their knees until she determined that they had learned their lesson.

11. Next time your child “forgets” to put something away, like video games or sports equipment, put it away for him. When he asks where it is, tell him that he’ll just have to look for it. Believe me; he will learn that it’s a lot more trouble to find something that Mom has hidden than it is to put it away in the first place.

12. If you have younger children who are messy, try this: Put their toys in a “rainy day” box to bring out later. This has the added benefit of making an old toy seem new again. Or set the toy somewhere out of reach but within sight for a predetermined number of days. This increases the impact of the correction by keeping the forbidden toy fresh in their minds.

13. I heard from a mom who had tired of her three sons’ ceaseless noises and sound effects—so she got creative. If her boys did not take their commotion outside, she would make them sit down and listen to the “Barney” theme song cassette for 10 minutes. For adolescent boys, it’s torture!

14. If your little one gets too hyper, come up with a code word to remind him to stop the action without embarrassing him. Whenever Tucker started getting too rowdy in a group, I would yell, “Hey, Batman.” He knew that he needed to calm down before I had to take more drastic measures.

15. Does your child slam the door when she’s angry? You might tell her, “It’s obvious that you don’t know how to close a door properly. To learn, you will open and close this door, calmly and completely, 100 times.”

16. If your child likes to stomp off to his room or stomp around in anger, send him outside to the driveway and tell him to stomp his feet for one minute. He’ll be ready to quit after about 15 seconds, but make him stomp even harder.

17. The same goes for throwing fits. Tell your child to go to her room to continue her fit. She isn’t allowed to come out and she has to keep crying for 10 minutes. Ten minutes is an awfully long time, and it’s no fun if your parents tell you to cry.

18. Another way to handle temper tantrums is to simply say, “That is too disruptive for this house. You may continue your fit in the backyard. When you’re finished, you are welcome to come back inside.” When there isn’t an audience, the thrill of throwing a temper tantrum is gone.

19. If a job is not done diligently, have your child practice doing it. She’ll learn to be more thorough if she’s made to sweep the floor three or four times because her first effort wasn’t good enough.

20. When one of my children is acting disrespectful, disobedient, or defiant, I will instruct him or her to choose a chore from the Job Jar. The jobs include scrubbing the toilet, organizing the pots and pans, moving and vacuuming underneath the furniture, weeding the garden, matching up odd socks, defrosting the refrigerator, and cleaning the closet, garage, or under the bed. And those are just a few possibilities. You could add ironing, vacuuming the refrigerator coils, scrubbing the inside of small wastebaskets, polishing the silver, cleaning the window wells, brushing the animals, cleaning the fireplace, shaking the kitchen rugs, vacuuming the couch, alphabetizing the spices, and using wood cleaner on the dining room chairs. Not only does the Job Jar help to get my house clean, but it also keeps my little ones from complaining that they’re bored. They know that with the Job Jar, Mom will always have an antidote for boredom.

21. I have a friend whose son’s morning chore was to get the pooper-scooper and clean up the doggie gifts littering the backyard. The boy was not doing this job with much diligence, so his father came up with this creative solution: After the boy had completed the task, he would be required to run through the yard barefoot! From then on, their lawn was perfectly clean.

Taken from Creative Correction by Lisa Whelchel.

Related Resource: Why You Need to Stick With Your Kid’s Consequences

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  • Ali

    Be careful with number 8. Make sure your child does not have a motor deficit first. Sloppy handwriting is often a sign of this.

  • pbaldwin

    Some good ideas, although I wouldn’t do the door one as that sort of thing would just wind up my son as he has Asbergers.

  • MelissaJ

    I like #7 for the dawdlers! I could sit through more of dinner!

  • Marie

    When my daughter was 9, a normal consequence was having to wear a dress or skirt to school. Doesn’t sound like a big deal??? for my jeans and tee shirt and converse girl it was punishment enough to only have to do it once!

  • Gwen

    A lot of these seem harsh. 21 could cause disease and is unusual. A lot of these seem like consequences that will happen if it’s not up to mom standards, not that their being destructive, or misbehaving. Now something like 1 or 14, that feels like a mom and child working towards a goal together without humiliation. To me a lot of these are making a moms life easier, but a child’s life harder. A lot of the consequences don’t seem to fit the actual wrong. I’ve been studying child psychology for a while on my own, but have taken classes within child development and know that a lot of these would be considered highly unacceptable. I can see some being creative, but a lot being cruel and unusual.

    • kelly

      I agree to some extent with what you’re saying, but I think this is a bit of a modifiable template for your child, and needs to suit the age of the child. I disagree with any of the degrading or demeaning chores because the hope is to encourage a child to be happy and resourceful rather than anxious and fearful. I really think that this “concept” could work if only it was more positively structured around benefiting the child rather than the parent.

  • Puma

    I think all of these ideas are brilliant. Thank you for sharing this list with a mother of a 17 year-old, 15 year-old and nine year-old girls. I don’t believe that any of these chores make life easy on the mother. On the contrary, all of these suggestions make life easier on the family unit. I was 12 years a slave, or rather 12 years a stay-at-home mom. What I learned most once I began working full-time is this, I literally raised my children to be dependent on someone else for clean laundry, a clean home, groceries; rides to school, practices, games, recitals, doctor’s appointments and best friend’s homes. Not to mention keeping a calendar of events for each family member. While young children are not expected to drive themselves to school or other commitments, I found that my teens were not interested in learning to drive or took initiative to keep tidy rooms or inquired as to how to cook etc… My point is this, do not raise your child to be inept. Always encourage, foster and lead your child by example and with love. When this fails, use the “21 Creative Consequences for Kids” list without hesitation and quilt-free. May the force be with you new parents.

  • aUSMCmom

    Some of the comments are exactly why we have such an issue with children and teen behavior in our society which then turns into juvenile detention being full, and jails as well as lazy people that have no work ethic. Gees what a nightmare.

    • aharris10877

      AGREED!!!

  • Stacy

    I don’t agree with the previous comment about the chores being degrading for the kids to do…. Chores are responsibilities that everyone shoud learn to do, cleaning toilets is work for anybody and I certainly don’t have a problem with my children cleaning a toilet every now and then. Learning to do meaningful work can help erase this epidemic of entitlement that is running rampant with our children in this country. We coddle our kids way too much here.

  • Rachel

    I have started using the tongue idea on my very rowdy son who often makes what I have now termed “nuisance noises” usually during times of extreme inappropriateness and hyperactivity. It has worked wonders.He maybe has done it 3 times today compared to fifty, this has helped Mom cool off with her grouchy-ness because my child is not driving me insane making annoying noises spratically through out the day.As a mother of three it can get loud in my home. I can also use that moment of silence to explain and further remind him we only use our tongue for REAL communication. DEF. looking into buying her book. As for people saying these IDEAS are too HARSH, or CRUEL. It is a parents duty to LOVINGLY DISCIPLE your children and to teach them responsibility. I don’t enjoy cleaning up after everyone NOR is it just one persons responsibility. I also don’t enjoy not having control of my children and getting embarrassed in public. I really don’t feel these suggestions are things that are going to be LONG term either, as I can already see in my child after having to hold his tongue for two minutes after he makes “nuisance noises”, hes become a little more conscious to his decisions.

    • Mike Kelley

      tourette’s?

  • BoyMom07

    Very creative. None involve hitting or yelling on the part of the parent. I love number 3. All need to experience some mercy from time to time.

  • Rebecca Michelle Weir-Tucker

    I can’t even begin to tell ALL OF YOU
    Be very cautious with these “consequences”…..consequences they are not. Punishments they VERY MUCH ARE…..I have NO PROBLEM

    • tots

      Good point Rebecca. We need to honour serving rather than subject it as a punishment…I totally believe in the philosophy of letting them be who they are…accept them embrace them. Teach them rather yhan punish them. And most of all if it’s a job well done as a parent you never will have behavioural issues with your children …
      Every Child is different and punishments wi
      H some dont work…It can be disrespectful and hurtful I feel. My three year old for example doesn’t need punishments but explaining…and it’s the only thing that works!







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