A Punishment that WORKS

Are you looking for a punishment that works? This one is a simple solution that doesn’t affect everyone else in the house.

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When kids get into trouble, parents are always trying to think of appropriate punishments. We take away outside time, friends, toys, and sports. Many times the punishment is a punishment for the parents (and other kids in the family).

Kids need outside time to run and play after being in school all day.  I can’t take my son’s school issued computer away because he uses it for schoolwork.  It’s hard to come up with a good punishment that works.  I would make a no outside punishment, but then something would come up.  My son would have a fundraiser and have to go door to door.  I would have to take a sibling to soccer practice.

The  punishment never worked and he was still outside.  Here’s a punishment that works!

Parenting a tween can be hard! I found a punishment that works for tweens. Read about it here.

A punishment that works

I was talking with my sister-in-law and she told me about a punishment that works and it doesn’t punish you too. It’s so simple and I’m doing this next time.

Instead of grounding or taking away the tablets you just put them to bed early. We aren’t talking 30 minutes early. I’m talking about painfully early. My oldest son is 10 and usually gets to bed around 9 (our bus doesn’t come until 8, so we aren’t super early risers).  His bedtime would be 7 o’clock. No books. No electronics.  Nothing.

I thought this was a genius idea. This would kill him when his brother and sister get to stay up later than he does. I love that this really doesn’t affect other people in the house. Instead of no outside time for the week, I’m going to try 2 or 3 days of early bedtime and test this out.

Update:  I put my middle child (who’s 10) to bed before 6:00 on Wednesday night.  He was asleep by 6:30 and must have been exhausted.  He woke up at 6:30 the next morning ready to go.  The other kids commented they would have hated going to bed that early.  I think it worked and I WILL be using this again!

Are you looking for a punishment that works? This one is a simple solution that doesn't affect everyone else in the house.

Has anyone tried this? Do you think it will work?

I have a parenting Pinterest board where I’ve saved tips and tricks for parents.  I even have one just for teens and tweens.  Follow me on Pinterest here. There are tons of new ideas, tips, crafts, and activities.  

I usually don’t save many things for younger kids since my youngest is 8 now, so if you have kids that are growing up like mine, then head over there and follow and you can see those in your feed.  There are also a ton of recipes and dinners that are quick and easy for those busy school nights!

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27 Responses

  1. What a great idea Holly! I’m trying this next time – it’s dark by 5 so this may actually work!

  2. Jackie Masek says:

    I think thus is brilliant. They’re probably acting up because they’re tired anyway.

  3. Teri says:

    It works unless your child is clinically hyperactive. We tried this when ours 4 and again at 6&7. He would.get p ready for the day @2:30 – 3:00a.m. We live and work on our family ranch so outside is work/chores. Tired is real here and he still cannot go to bed before 8-8:30p.m. He will be up on his own by 6. He is a child of emotional trauma, Foster Care FAS etc. And we have been to every training available etc. Still searching for relief for him. His anxiety is always high.

    • I don’t normally jump into conversations like this so I’m sorry if this seems rude. Teri, you mentioned that you live on a family ranch, do you have horses there?? Equine therapy truly does work wonders with all kinds of emotional, anxiety, and other kids of issues. I’ve gone through it when I was younger and it made a life changing impact on me. (My mom owned horses all of my life, but it was different having to raise and train a horse of my own from the ground up.) Just food for thought.

      As far as this punishment idea, in my case, I believe it would back fire because I have a tween who is good at holding grudges big time!! He seeks revenge to much. I love the idea and it does work well with my other two kids. 😉

    • kathryn says:

      Hi, I have no idea if you will see this comment or not…I just wanted to encourage you to hang in there! I know you are doing a wonderful job with your precious son. I know it is hard and lonely sometimes but keep persevering! My godson is 4 and was an NAS baby (his birth mother tested positive for 3-5 drugs every month during her pregnancy, including five the day he was born) so he has issues like SPD, etc. I love him dearly but he is not always easy and “normal” discipline doesn’t always work for him. 🙂 And I’m not the one there with him every single day but his mama fights for him as I can tell you do too. You said you have been to every training available, so you may have already heard about this but have you read the book Empowered to Connect by Dr. Karyn Purvis? She also has a conference by the same name. If you haven’t heard of her, I would highly recommend checking out her book, website, and video clips on youtube. I of course have no idea where you live but there will be a conference in Nashville, TN in April that I will be at and there is also an option to have it simulcast locally for a church or other groups. God bless you!

    • Beth says:

      My daughter is 12 and she requires about 3 hrs sleep naturally. I have discovered that giving her 3mg of melatonin. Helps her sleep a little more and in turn she is much calmer the next day.

  4. Gainya says:

    Everything is not going to work for everyone, but this is a great idea and so worth a try

  5. renee says:

    I used this punishment a few times recently, when taking the tablet and the 3ds did NOTHING, and it so far so good! My daughter acts like it is absolute torture but is asleep within minutes and stays asleep until morning, so obviously, the rest is much needed. Normally she goes to bed at 830, but I have sent her to bed as early as 645.

  6. Kate says:

    Teri, try the Feingold diet with your son. No consequences worked until we implemented this diet with our child. Turns out her diet effected everything–sleep, behavior, schoolwork, you name it. Not just junk food. Some natural things, too.

  7. R says:

    Teri, have you thought about melatonin our pediatrician recommended it for our son to because he is very energetic at night too. Ask your pediatrician about it. He falls asleep very quickly and rests well until the next morning. And don’t worry if he has to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night this does not affect when nature calls at all. He will simply get up go and then go back to sleep. Good luck.

  8. Rf says:

    The use of the word punishment makes me cringe. A better word and way to think of it might be discipline. If you are trying to correct or modify behavior – then you need to discipline your child. Punishment uses a harsh, authoritarian style of parenting.

  9. Gemma says:

    We’ve tried this with our 5. It did work well as a punishment and teaching them a lesson BUT it did affect our other kids as that one child would either get up wide awake during the night or too early the next morning and disturb/wake the others.

  10. Nicole @ Blissfully Simplified says:

    I think this is a great idea.. though I don’t know if I would call it a “punishment”. To me children usually act out, or are crabby for a reason and they haven’t yet developed the tools to work through whatever they are feeling. Even at 10-12 years old. I do love the idea of having them go to bed early though. I have found with my kids (6,6,9,11) that at least 70% of the time when they are having meltdowns what seems like nothing to me, that they’re actually exhausted. So, really, I think sleep would be the “cure” to their behaviors, not so much a punishment for them.

  11. Pam says:

    It was said that this would have no consequence to others in the home… My 11 yr old would throw a fit at this and would be continually getting up and down… and so I would be back to the 2-3 yrs stage… and its harder to pick up an 11yr and keep putting them back in their room… I like the person in this article cant take away electronics as they are used for homework… she has some unique qualities HFA /Anxiety & Depression/ ADHD … so taking away her social play dates where she learns in group activities (which are fun for her) … I still struggle with what would work

  12. Audra says:

    Yep! My oldest is 13 and when she gets onery we put her to bed by 7:30-8 and then she magically wakes up happy … Shocking! 😉 not only does it give her time to think but she usually needs the extra sleep. It was so dramatic that we upped her bedtime permanently by 30-60 minutes if at all possible!

  13. Tara says:

    My mom used to send me to bed early and it has contributed to life long sleep issues. I learned that laying in bed in the dark is time to “think about my behavior” and become anxious and then toss and turn all night. Is it realistic that kids actually think about their behavior? I used to spend the whole time trying to figure out why she wanted me to think about something that was already done and I couldn’t change it. Going to bed early does not seem like it’s connected to the behavior that one would be trying to correct in any way. What about just talking to kids?

    • Lisa says:

      I agree. Telling them to think about what they did wrong IS negative reinforcement and not something they can change at that point. A better thing to say would be think about what you could do better next time.

  14. Katrina says:

    Please be careful how you speak to your children. Reinforcing what they did wrong only reinforces shame and makes them feel they are bad, rather them seeing it as they made a bad decision. Discipline should be kind and consistent if you want to raise a kind and consistent child. I find that most parents problem is whatever form of discipline they’re using isn’t working because they just aren’t using it consistently. Children need boundaries that are clear and set in stone. In fact, they test them because they crave them. Never take your child’s behavior personal, anyone’s behavior for that matter. Don’t make it about you, or that you need a break, have to get this or that done, don’t see it as them trying to disrupt your life. Model good emotional control and set the example above all else. Then just be kind and consistent in whatever form of discipline you choose.

  15. Denise says:

    I am a mom of 5 kids, 3 bio and 2 adopted. It works! Put them to bed early! My oldest boy is 13 then boy/girl twins 11, two from Africa 8 and 9 which are boys….It is a boys haven here and I love it!……… BUT…….taking outside time away is not good for boys, yet they hate to do extra chores of cleaning and going to bed early. Those of you with problems with your kids……! I can NOT say this enough!!! Pay attention to what you feed them! I took all chemicals, dyes and corn syrup ect……IT worked not meds for my boys!!!!! I am aware some have to give medication to your children for EXTREME behavior problems…but for the sake of your child’s health and yours research on what you are allowing them to EAT. OH and don’t forget GOD can do anything PRAY, PRAY, PRAY! Jesus took it all up on the cross for your healing and your kids! God bless all of you mommies!

  16. Aria Rose says:

    Another good one is : Congratulations you are grounded. They have to earn 500 points to get ungrounded and to earn points they do chores. This work amazingly well with my daughter , Raven

    • Nate young says:

      That sounds like a great idea I ground my kids but i never tried making them earn points I will try that does it work and don’t you agree with me grounding is the best punishment

  17. Brenda says:

    Rewarding for good behavior always worked for me. I read somewhere that a child’s room should never be used a a place of punishment. When they become teenagers depending how things are handle when they are younger will usually define how things will go at that time. Parenting doesn’t come with instructions and what works for one person may no for someone else. Trial and error!

  18. Belinda says:

    We were always made to go to bed at 7:30 until I was around 15 – so an earlier bedtime wasn’t a solution. What my mother did was confiscate the pillows.

  19. Randy says:

    How about giving them things instead of taking things away. Taking away video games & electronics gets old. I try giving my kids things such as extra responsibilities & chores.

  20. Tammy Sy says:

    Oh this is actually a brilliant idea! Its a punishment that will give kids a lesson (since human being is always finding ways to stay away from pain). And it gives kids more sleep so that they will hv less tendency to mal behave. Im so going to try this out!

  21. Nate young says:

    I only send my kids to bed at 7 pm if they are grounded because my kids get into trouble a lot so as a punishment for my kids I use grounding

  22. anthony says:

    my son thinks its death