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5 Ways to Let the Punishment Fit the Crime


I always have my trusty standby punishments for my children tucked away in my tool belt, but sometimes, no most times, I think the punishment should fit the crime. Here are a few examples to help you learn to discipline your children in a way meant to apply natural consequences to the situations they find themselves in.

1. Repetition — I have learned when my kids do not clean something correctly it usually means they need more practice. So I have them repeat the chore a dozen or more times. For example, my kids all had problems putting the cap back on the toothpaste. After putting the cap on and taking it off 25 times, they seem more inclined to remember to put the cap on. If they “sweep” the floor and leave dirt everywhere I assume they need more practice and provide that opportunity out of the kindness of my heart. Practice makes perfect.

2. Bed Time — My son who on a couple of occasions decided to play a fun little bed time game I like to call “Heck No!” He would stay up late in his room while I thought he was asleep. The next day he would complain about how tired he was so I would put him to bed earlier, natural consequences. At some point in the future, he will beg to stay up later when he is a teenager, and I will play this game a little bit differently. I will let him stay up as late as he likes so long as he gets to school on time and does all of his homework and chores. If it works as it worked on me, he will find his own bed time is probably earlier than he wants it to be.

3. Clean Your Room — A fun story curtesy of my father and brother. When my brother, William, lived with just our dad (our parents were divorced), he was told to go clean his bedroom. Later William comes out and says “Dad, why should I clean my room? It’s just going to get messy again.” My dad painted a knowing smile on his mouth and responded, “Your right, never mind you don’t have to clean your room.” An hour before dinner William asks what’s for dinner. Then comes my father’s brilliant response.”Why should I feed you? You’re just going to get hungry again anyway.” My brother got the message and went to clean his room.

4. Princess Syndrome — my two daughters, have both told me they are princesses and princesses don’t do chores. So I played along. If they want to be princesses that’s fine – they each got a chance to be Cinderella. Of course, Cinderella spent her days cleaning, cooking, caring for the needs of her stepmother and stepsisters. After a few hours, they asked if they could be a different princess. I offered the options being Tiana (who worked three jobs), Snow White (who cleaned for seven little men), and Aurora (who lived in the woods cleaning and gardening). For some reason they decided they didn’t want to be princesses anymore, weird.

5. Temper Tantrums — I wise aunt of mine once told me how she ended tantrums very effectively. I have since tried this on my youngest daughter and have not had a single tantrum since she was two and half years old. Alex decided she was going to throw a fit because she did not get her way. So I told her if she chose to throw a temper tantrum she would have to throw it to my standard. She accepted my challenge. I made her kick harder, yell louder and longer, and wail her hands around longer. She got tired pretty quick; I made her go just a minute or two past her tired point, and I got my point across. The next time she went to throw a fit I told she would have to throw it my way. Miraculously, she had no desire to throw her tantrum anymore. I am sure there is a way to apply this technique to other less than desirable behaviors as well.

I am sure your children have or will provide a means for you to try out discipline methods that fit the crime. I would love to hear some other ideas.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Adrina Palmer is a stay-at-home-mom to three wonderful children and a wife to an amazing husband. She has a bachelors degree in Religion from Liberty University and is currently writing her first novel. Adrina is a Christian hoping to help other stay-at-home moms find the joy and simplicity as a mother and wife. In her free time she enjoys many crafts, writing, spending time with family, and reading. She would love to hear from you!

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