Ways To Discipline Your Child Using Creativity and Fun


My kids are not perfect. They are not little angels well-behaved at all times. In fact, they can kind of act like jerks from time to time (sounds harsh, but the word I wanted to use isn’t appropriate for print). My kids are not perfect. And it always makes me laugh a little when parents say that their kids are. They’re not; we know it. You know it, why make it all awkward and stuff? All kids misbehave from time to time. Sure, more than others. I’m not even complaining about my kids’ poor behavior since it pales in comparison to some of the other kids we know, and it’s not the worst kind of misbehavior in theory. But, still, it’s annoying; and it’s up to use to discipline our kids so that they don’t turn into total animals, raging brats and the kids who strike fear and terror in the hearts of others when they show up.

But not all ‘normal’ discipline methods work for all of our kids. Okay, so the twins are far from requiring discipline at their age, but what worked for our oldest did not work even remotely for our ‘middle’ daughter. We had to get creative with her. Time out was a laughing joke for her. She views it as time to herself in which no one is allowed to talk to her or bother her; private time, really. She will even put herself in time out for no other reason than she feels her sister won’t leave her alone and she wants to make sure that happens. The kid is…something else.

That’s when we had to get creative. And fun; because if the kids are misbehaving, we need to make things entertaining for us. And that’s how we came up with these ideas that kind of work wonders for our stubborn, strong-willed little girl – and some that my parents used on me that kept me in line and well-behaved.

Take it Away

Our (almost) 7-year-old is as much a neat freak as I. She likes her room spotless and clean and she even goes so far as to sleep on top of her comforter so that she doesn’t mess up her bed (okay, she’s weird). But we never, ever have to ask her to clean her room. Our 4-year-old, however, is a different story. She will not clean up her messes to save her life, so we are just left with a huge mess and no options since she doesn’t care to clean up. That’s when we started taking things from her. For example, if we asked her to pick up her dollhouse from the living room floor and take it back to her room and she did not do it within a few minutes of being asked, we’d take the dollhouse and tell her since she didn’t care about it at all, it was ours. Or we’d let her sister have it in her room for the rest of the day. Ava hates that, and she’s learned to do what we ask right away.

Make them Hug and Kiss it Out

Our kids fight, especially right now during summer vacation. They’ve had about as much as they can stand of one another, and they’re a little bit over it. This means that they fight relentlessly at times, and we have to do something to make it stop. The constant screaming at one another and the bickering makes me nuts, so I’ve been making them love it out. They have to hug and kiss each other whether they like it or not. It usually ends up with the two of them falling over laughing in a fit of giggles as they try to avoid the other’s kisses or force their hugs on one another. Argument forgotten; best friends once again.

See You Later, Bedroom Door

Our littles are still pretty little so we’ve never done this. But my dad did this to me one time – just once – growing up, and it was quite effective. I used to have a bad habit of taking his office supplies out of his office at home without ever bringing them back. He did not like going into my room when I was not home to look for those things, so he told me one day that the next time I did not bring his stuff back,  he’d borrow something of mine and forget to bring it back. I took his stapler and misplaced it, he couldn’t find it, I came home from school and had no bedroom door. He borrowed it and, darn it, he forgot to put it back. How annoying is that? I never forgot to put his stuff back after borrowing it after that!

Clean it Myself

If I have to remind my daughter to clean her room yet again in the evenings, I will set a timer and give her five minutes to get in there and clean it up. If she fails to do that, the rule is that anything on the floor is mine. I will then place it in a trash bag and act like I’m going to throw it in the garbage when the bag is full. Lo and behold, she manages to get off her little behind and clean up her room every single time. She did not like seeing me go in there that first time with a bag. She did not think I meant business. I mean, I wasn’t throwing all that expensive stuff away for real, but thankfully it never came to that.

The “That’s another day” Method

This is another one my parents used on me when I was 15. I was a good kid. I made straight A’s in school. I was co-captain of the cheerleading squad, a member of student government, a pitcher and first basemen on the softball team and I coached my mom’s middle school cheer squad. I was a classic type A overachiever, but apparently my parents thought I was a bit sassy and smart-mouthed (I prefer witty and sarcastic, but whatever). One day they told me that every time I said something smart or got into trouble, they’d add one day to my birthday. When I asked that that meant, they said, “You’ll be 16 September 30 and we assume that means you want to get your driver’s license that day. So, if we have to discipline you, it’s an extra day until you can get your license.”

I was an angel after that. I mean, I’d already waited 16 years for freedom. I wasn’t waiting another day.

Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images


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