Every parent struggles with coming up with effective and motivational discipline that is appropriate to the child and the infraction. One area that is a particular struggle is the area of grades. When I was a kid, it boiled down to my parents using corporal punishment or grounding me for 9 weeks for getting bad grades and money for getting good grades – my how times have changed!
She explained that while her kids were very little, a smack on the hand or bottom took care of most common parent-child discipline, but that she was not inherently “a hitter,” and wanted to try some other things that might work beyond the corporal punishment phase. So…time to get creative!
“D”o you get the idea?
To address the angle of creative punishment, my co-worker developed what I deem to be a GREAT idea. First, she went into her son’s room and removed the TV, toys and electronic devices leaving only books behind to read. Next, since her son had received a “D,” she decided to punish him with all things D-related by cleverly devising a litany of tasks, chores and other punishments that all started with the letter “D” for him to complete throughout the day and evening.
- D – Dirty Dishes.
- D – Dig holes for yard work they were doing.
- D – Dusting.
- D – Dog tending (all the things the dog needed done throughout the day).
As a bonus, each task contained the added benefit of reinforcing a life skill in order to help her son on his way to becoming an adult.
I can see how this idea could be expanded to apply to a large cross section of things in the day-to-day life of raising children. By applying my co-worker’s idea to both positive and negative reinforcements, it could become creative way of showing a child that you’re serious and caring about what is happening in their life.
If used in a positive way, rewards might include:
- A – Angling trip (fishing).
- A – Advocate (ask for something they may not have had the privilege of doing yet, because they’ve earned it).
- B – Bike trip somewhere fun.
- B – Blending (as in choosing) foods for a meal that THEY like the most.
It takes a good parent to channel their anger, frustration and disappointment into something this creative and productive. Alternately, it takes a loving, caring and thoughtful parent to actually enforce a discipline for a transaction like this. And those of you who use the letter system for rewards, well, I think your job is a LOT easier, but no less creative and fun. You might just have to break out your dictionary and sit down with your kids to come up with a good alphabet word list – another life skill back in action. Good luck and God bless your efforts.