...The Stick...

Last week I talked about the carrot part of discipline or the rewarding of good behavior, and I explained how we do that in our house. This week I’m going to talk about the punishment part of discipline, because, let’s face it, my children are not perfect!

A couple of years ago, I found myself in a discipline rut. It seemed like I kept using the same method over and over, for everything that the kids did wrong. The consequences didn’t necessarily fit the crime, but it was a quick, easy consequence, so I kept doing it. However, I knew that the punishment part of discipline was to be a tool to train, not an easy out for parents to check off their list. So I thought, I read, I pondered, and once I found my rules that I mentioned last week, the consequences just seemed obvious. Now I don’t have to invent something to do, I just consult my chart.

 On the right side of my bulletin board is my consequence chart. You will notice that the title is Make the Choice; Choose the Consequence.

 One of the things that I’m constantly pointing out to my girls (and will be soon to Monkey!) is that you always have a choice, but that choice results in consequences. If you make a good choice, the consequences will ultimately be good ones. If you make a bad choice, the consequences will not be good. Thus the inspiration for my title, when you choose the choice, you are also choosing whatever consequences result from that choice.

Now for a quick look at some of my consequences (and an up close look at my chart!):

  •            Extra chores are perfect for punishment, especially for not obeying immediately. Why do kids not obey when you need or want them to? Usually because they are busy doing something they want to do. So when you have to wait and ask four times for their attention, then they get to pay you back by doing a chore for you to make up for all that time you lost waiting for them.
  •            Loss of privileges means that you miss out on story time participation, playing with a friend, park dates, sleepovers, etc. While the rest of the family may go, you will not be allowed to participate. I only use this for severe offenses. On my chart, this is only used for lying. I WILL NOT (to the best of my ability) raise children who lie, which is why I love our sticker chart for positive behaviors. The kids know that they might get punished for breaking one of the other rules, but if they tell me the truth, they at least get to put a sticker on the chart for being honest. If they lie, then they get punished for the lie and the offense they are trying to cover up.
  •      Kind acts for others is a great way to remind children to follow the Golden Rule. If you are rude, selfish, cruel, or hateful to someone and I catch you, then you will do three kind things for the other person. The kind things are decided upon by me and the person offended, if they are available.
  •      I also take away screen time as a punishment. Now if you don’t limit screen time, then this isn’t the punishment for you, but I try to limit the kid’s exposure to a screen to only one hour each day. Trust me, they do not want to lose their chance to play the Wii, watch Netflix, watch a movie, or play on the computer.
  •            I discovered with Chipette that there is no punishment that an extrovert hates more than to be sent off by themselves for a timeout. Luckily, so far, both of the girls love to be around the family, and hate to be alone in their rooms. This punishment is my fall back if I need a moment to calm down before talking to them about their behavior. Sometimes the timeout is for the parents as much as the kids!
  •            I really loathe hearing the girls fight over something, food, toys, clothes, etc. They know if I hear a fight and an object is the center of the feud, then Mom will just take it away and set it on top of the refrigerator for the rest of the day.  If something is that controversial that it causes arguments, then no one needs.
  •            Sometimes in life, we all just need a redo. When I know that my kids are rushing through something, usually school work or chores, just to finish, then I make them redo their work to the best of their ability. I don’t expect perfection, but I do expect them to work hard. As my grandmother used to say, “If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right.”

I didn’t include spanking in my list even though my family does use this discipline method. We don’t use it very often, and we don’t use it past about the age of six, but I didn’t want to put it on my list because opinions vary wildly and intensely on using it as a form of punishment.
  •      The money jar (which is on my list of consequences) will be discussed in the next Mama Monday post.
    You can download a blank version of my consequence chart so you can add in your family's consequences:

Are there any tried and true consequences that work in your house? Share them below in the comments. 

Trying to teach the biggest lesson of all about choice and consequence daily in the tree house,


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