Crime & Punishment


I have a really hard time disciplining my children. I’m not talking small punishments, like sitting in the corner or not getting dessert. Those are a piece of cake. I mean, the big stuff. The stuff that comes after numerous warnings, countless chances and never ending tantrums.

The problem? Those punishments always seem to punish me, too. And, frankly (said in my whiniest voice while stomping my feet,) it’s just not fair.

Let’s review the punishments that really get to my children:

• Cancelling play-dates: Not only do I look like a dick to the other parent, but I need to deal with annoying children complaining of nothing to do all afternoon and I have to entertain them.

• Not attending birthday parties: Again, I look like an asshole backing out and I’m already out the gift, plus I have to make lunch.

• Going to bed early: So I need to listen to screaming and crying for hours? That makes for a relaxing night.

• Going to bed without dinner: OK, so I’ve never done it, but I would without a doubt end up stressing all night that they are malnourished or dehydrated and that I am the sole cause.

• Turning around the car mid-trip: Are you kidding? After strapping the kids in, packing everything up, and schlepping somewhere I’m supposed to just turn around? Does anyone actually do this?

• Taking away TV time: The only time that my children are ever peaceful and quiet is during the hour when they watch television. I am not about to give that up.

So, what does that leave me? Time-outs? Pfft. I’d kill for a time out, myself. It doesn’t seem like much of a threat. Time in their toy-filled rooms? Nah…

Perhaps, I should record their meltdowns and subject them to incessant screenings. That’s certainly punishment for me.


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  1. Soccermom says

    I agree most punishments effect both parties.

    The thing that worked the best for us is we took my daughters door away. Took it clean off the hinges. She hated it cause she had no privacy.

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    • udon'tknowme says

      The door off the hinges definitely works! I thought this punishment was a bit much, but after having told our daughters numerous times over the dangers of slamming doors. fighting over the doors, limbs being hurt in doors, they really didn’t believe we’d do it. But we did for a couple of weeks, & after putting it back on, they’ve been listening!! :)

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      • Brooke Ducharme says

        I was finding that my 11 year old was hiding stuff when the door was closed to her room. Luckily we bought a house where they put the CHEAPEST doors known to man in….so in frustration one afternoon I called my brother up and had him come help me. I took all of their doors off, cut them in half (making them the lower part of a dutch-door) just above the door knob and put them back on. Now the 11 year old can still keep the little ones out of HER room and I can pop in and check on her and her escaped anytime I like! My husband thought I was crazy, but I actually have a better feeling about it now and I think she has gotten use to it.

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        • Rae says

          I wish I had thought of that before my 8 year old’s door broke off the frame, now a baby gate keeps the 1 year old out, and provides her the opportunity to sit and just watch him sit and watch his tv. I don’t get it,but it keeps her occupied sometimes, and he really has no problem ignoring her..

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  2. Jessica says

    My husband swears we should be recording our daughter’s tantrums to play for future boyfriends. After the one she had last night, I’m almost inclined to agree with him. Even if we just hold the video for blackmail purposes…
    .-= Jessica´s last blog ..Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls — A Review =-.

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    • Michele - The Professional Family Manager says

      My mother did that to me…she recorded a temper-tantrum when I was two over not getting to eat all the chips and dip I wanted at Christmas, and she played it for my fiancee as a joke to show him “what he was marrying.”

      Funny thing…my husband buys chips and dip for every holiday now. :-)
      .-= Michele – The Professional Family Manager´s last blog ..Do We Really Ever Listen to Ourselves? =-.

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    • Jackie Lee says

      My daughter had a complete meltdown in the car one night ~ it happened to be right after her last dance class and I had the video camera with me. She wouldn’t get in her car seat and I swear the devil took over that child.

      I thought it might make her stop if I videoed her in the midst of this meltdown. It did not help calm her down at all… in fact it was while the recorder was running she got the brilliant idea to chuck her shoes at my head.

      I showed it to my husband later on and he could NOT believe that was really her. She went to her grandparents for a week earlier this month, I almost sent it to them so they knew what they were in for. Of course, she was a dream while she was there ~ it’s pretty easy to be good when you get everything you want.

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    • says

      The Best Punishment for a baby would be sit with the parent
      The best Punishment for a Toddler send them into a corner with there nose in it and beat them
      The Punishment for a Kid would be no Dessert
      The Best Punishment for a Teenager no T.V. or Music 3 weeks

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  3. Michele - The Professional Family Manager says

    I just had to inform my oldest via text that she is not to get off of the bus with her friend, but is to come home and do the two chores I told her needed to be done before she spent the afternoon/evening with her friend. She’ll come home and do the chores…and I’ll get to deal with the eye-rolling, the stomping, the glares, and the music she will blast from her room. Oh, yes, and she will post notes about how life isn’t fair on Facebook and tell her father that I was a royal b**ch this week.

    Don’t think this is going to get any easier with teenagers.

    I’ve had to look like the “Most Rotten Parent in The World” to other parents. I’ve had some tell me I should go easier on the kids, or can’t they just come over this one time, and if I’m too controlling I’ll just make things worse. Sorry, but I’m not interested in raising one of those entitled, whiny kids. We have rules for a reason. There are consequences. End of story.

    But, yeah, the parents get punished when we punish our kids, too. Life is so not fair! (Insert eye rolling here.) :-)
    .-= Michele – The Professional Family Manager´s last blog ..Do We Really Ever Listen to Ourselves? =-.

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    • Jenifer says

      I have the same problem & now that my kids are teens they know that when I say they won’t get to go somewhere it’s only a threat :( that is until recently .. We attend a lot of Hot Rod & Art Shows & a few months ago I told my husband I wasn’t gonna go because I wasn’t gonna take the kids, then I started thinking about it & realized I was punishing myself!! So I made a few calls & made arrangements to leave them with my parents which they didn’t know until the morning of the carshow! As we pulled up to my parents house my daughter asked what we were doing there & I said you guys are staying here while Dad & I go to the carshow … OMG! right before our eyes our teens turned into 2 year olds! As heartbroken as I was we drove off!! Oh I forgot to mention it was an out of town weekend show so they had to spend the night. Called to check on them & my Dad said they literally cried for over an hour saying “I can’t believe they left
      us!” Now when I say they won’t go they believe me :)

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      • Michele - The Professional Family Manager says

        I wish I had extended family. I’d love to use this one on them!
        .-= Michele – The Professional Family Manager´s last blog ..Do We Really Ever Listen to Ourselves? =-.

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      • Mum Dee says

        I am totally with you on your method and am glad that you found a way to make it work so that you could still go. Way better effect on the kids too since you and their dad got to go have a good time. I know that I am careful how I pick consequences because I won’t go back on them.

        I remember one time driving 2 1/2 hours to go to a certain museum my two youngest daughters and I wanted to go to see. The youngest one who would have been about 7 at the time had a bad habit of always wandering off when we were out places (she never really outgrew this either!). I told them before we left that if she didn’t let us know where she was going to be if she felt like she wanted to go look at something away from where we were that we would leave the museum. I don’t think we were there much more than a half hour when she disappeared. It took us over 10 minutes to find her so guess what, we left as soon as I found her. Her sister was sooo mad at her. I was pretty pissed myself because I really wanted to see everything as well.

        I should have planned to return there and left her with a babysitter the second time around maybe that would have gotten through to her!

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    • Kelly says

      Maybe you should preempt all that and cut the power to her room. No music, no Fb. hahaha. And she can have it back when she’s respectful (and has forgotten about it so she won’t post/tell dad, etc.

      Clearly, I don’t have teens yet. Though my 5yo is pretty good at the stomping thing. But I would think that losing the cell/computer/music would be good consequences, right?
      .-= Kelly´s last blog =-.

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      • Michele - The Professional Family Manager says

        Actually, she just got her FB account back this week after I deactivated it two months ago. Apparently there are more lessons to be learned here.

        The circuit breaker has her room connected with the kitchen, so if I shut her off then I shut off the ‘fridge and other essentials. I’ve thought before that, if we ever had a house custom built, I’d put every room on its own circuit.

        Fortunately, she really is a good kid–good grades, mostly responsible. She’s just going through normal teenage growing pains. That doesn’t mean I’m letting her off the hook for not finishing her jobs, though. I may be sympathetic, but, if I say to do something, then it needs to be done unless she’s bleeding out of her eyes or something.
        .-= Michele – The Professional Family Manager´s last blog ..Do We Really Ever Listen to Ourselves? =-.

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      • miss says

        dont think taking away stuff helps any at all my 9 yr old has been getting into a lot of trouble at school rolling his eyes at the teacher snatching papers out of the teachers hand banging his head of the table durring oral reading and many more so i have grounded him took away everything computer play station 3 all of his toys i even took away his tv when he gets home from school he does his homework and then chores till bed time this still isnt working i dont know what else to do they are talking about expeling him from 3rd grade i am going to try to make him write 500 times a night for a week that he will be good at school and he has to write it neat if not he will have to redo it then for every day he gets into trouble at school add 500 more but if he can go 1 week without trouble i will start to give him things back one at a time starting with the tv once he gets that the writing will stop and if he gets in trouble again he losses tv and writing starts back up but if no trouble he can earn other things back other then this i dont know what else to do

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        • All My Monkeys says

          Sounds to me like there’s something bigger going on here. Maybe you should start by having a heart to heart (you know, not in the midst of yelling and screaming but at a totally unrelated time) and asking him what’s going on? Bullying? learning problems? friend probs? home probs? This kind of behavior can be a cry for help. Talk to the teacher and find out if there has been any other stuff going on non-classroom related, like on the playground. My kid (8) will get weird and come to find out something happened. Even something that in our eyes is minor can stress them out. Then, try positive reinforcements. If the kid gets negative all the time, then that’s how they feel about themselves. Try to focus on positive stuff, even if you have to compliment him on something as dumb as thanks for putting your dirty socks in the hamper – i appreciate it. It’s SOMETHING GOOD that he’s done. And make small goals with small rewards. Daily even. Kids need to feel good about themselves. Good begets good.

          And, for the love of pete, use some punctuation when you write. It makes you look illiterate, when you’re clearly not. Even a period is something. Otherwise it’s hard to read.

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  4. Cranky Sarah says

    Is he saying “I want more cheese” as he’s holding uneaten cheese? Classic!

    I have done all of those things (the sending them to bed without dinner is technically their choice though and my pediatrician’s idea) and you’re right, it is more punishment on me than them.
    .-= Cranky Sarah´s last blog ..OOTW: What I wore on my anniversary =-.

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  5. WTH am I Doing says

    Ugh. I know just where you’re coming from on this. Some of the punishments also deprive me of things I enjoy doing with them, too. It is often effective to take away the bedtime story from my son, but that is one of the few times he & I get to sit together & enjoy a few quiet moments together. I enjoy that time I get to have with him & it sucks when I have to take it away.

    Likewise, you covered those negative consequences above. The whole sending to the room thing is kind of a joke. “Go sit buy yourself in Toy Utopia!” Noooooo, don’t make me do thaaaat…. :p
    .-= WTH am I Doing´s last blog ..Confessions of a Kid Hater =-.

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  6. jeninwisconsin says

    I always get annoyed when my husband takes away things from my 8yo, like his limited TV time. Because that means that immediately he wants to “be with you, Mom.” Gah.

    This house is NOT big enough.

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    • Michele - The Professional Family Manager says

      Of course, because now you are his new best friend and dad is the bad guy.

      So, when things like this happen, does it mean that Dad owes you for taking the punishment, too? :-)
      .-= Michele – The Professional Family Manager´s last blog ..Do We Really Ever Listen to Ourselves? =-.

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  7. Cathy says

    My problem is I have a tough time coming up with any form of punishment that actually works! Seems like they have no currency (thanks Dr. Phil for the lingo).

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    • Sharon Hughes says

      I am just finished reading Beyond Time Out – From Chaos to Calm, by Beth A. Grosshans, Ph.D. and I am finding it helps.

      Seems I am a pushover and have lost some parental power to my very strong willed 5 year old daughter….. working on creating balance works, and remembering to stay calm when she’s not….. it might be a worthwhile read for you.

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  8. Evan says

    Is that child begging for goat cheese? You really are depriving them, aren’t you…

    I’m always amazed at how long my little boy will ask for something or call for me, after I’ve told him “no” and that I won’t answer him anymore. Recently, after I told him to go to sleep and that I wouldn’t come back to his room, ” he yelled for me from his room for maybe 15 minutes straight, “Daddy! Daddy!” Finally, he added “Daddy! I know you can hear me!” He used to sometimes yell, “Daddy! It’s me, Jack!” Just in case there was any confusion.

    As for punishments, I’m impressed that you would cancel play dates or birthday parties – which I totally look forward to. No dessert goes a long way in our house, as does taking away certain toys (whatever he’s into at the moment – right now, it’s the drum set).
    .-= Evan´s last blog ..By the Time We Got to KidStock… =-.

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  9. SaucyB says

    My husband has this annoying tendency to threaten punishments we’d never actually follow thru on, like not going down the shore or to a family event. Gee and I wonder why displine usually falls to me.

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  10. Jen says

    When things get too bad around here and the kids are through fits, I just lock myself in the bathroom until the screaming stops or there some one is bleeding. ;)
    .-= Jen´s last blog ..Maintain the Professionalism No Matter What =-.

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