Discipline Done Right: Ten Punishments That Work

Discipline Done Right: Ten Punishments That Work

Disciplining your child is crucial. The right strategy can teach responsibility and thoughtfulness, but the wrong one can lead to rebellion, which can be bad for the child and others. Contrary to historical practices, punishments don’t have to be harsh; they just need to teach kids responsibility and accountability. There are ways you can punish your child that will benefit them.

What Is The Purpose Of Punishment

Punishment is meant to promote learning and positive behavior by teaching children about the natural consequences of their actions, not just to scare them. Effective punishments don’t hurt your child, but help them make better choices in the future. They teach children about the consequences of their actions and promote accountability, self-discipline, and good behavior.

Parents often punish their children for misbehaving, but some punishments can be harmful. To discipline children, use age-appropriate measures like a punishment jar, taking away toys, or having them help around the house. Such punishments teach children the importance of appropriate behavior and reduce unwanted actions.

Ten Punishments That Work

When disciplining children, it’s important to remember that punishment should be used as a last resort and should always be reasonable and age-appropriate. The focus should be on teaching and guiding the child toward better behavior rather than inflicting harm or causing fear. Here are a few creative punishments that can be effective when used thoughtfully.

Time To Do Housework

Housework is not fun, especially for younger children. That is why it can be a useful punishment; however, it can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, using housework as a form of punishment can help teach children responsibility and the value of contributing to the household. On the other hand, using it as a form of punishment and not as something one should do regardless can lead your child to think that doing housework is only a form of punishment and nothing else.

If you choose to use housework as a punishment, make sure it is age-appropriate, balanced with discussions and positive reinforcements, connected to the misbehavior, and not stereotypical. Also, adults must supervise the children to make sure they complete the task safely.

Give Them Time-Ins

“Time-ins” are one of the most positive punishment ideas and can be more effective than the age-old “time out.” Time-ins mean staying with the child after the misbehavior, talking to them, offering them support, and using this time to communicate with them and teach them about how and why their behavior was not appropriate.

Here’s how time-ins work:

First, when a child misbehaves, instead of sending them to their room or sending them off to do some work as a punishment, you stay with the child. When you are with them, it shows them that you have not rejected them, even when they misbehave. When you stay with the child and comfort them, it shows them that they can talk about their emotions and feelings with you and helps them feel safe.

Then, calmly talk to them about their feelings and emotions, and encourage them to express themselves. Teach them ways to share their feelings appropriately, such as using words or taking deep breaths. Let them know the limits for behaviors and set clear boundaries so they know what is acceptable and what is not.


Restitution focuses on repairing whatever harm the child has done. This means that when a child misbehaves and ends up hurting someone or harming something, they are required to take responsibility for their actions and try to correct the things they’ve done wrong. The main point of this is to teach children what happens when they behave out of line and to help them develop compassion and empathy.

For restitution, you could ask the child to apologize to the person they have hurt, help others repair the damage they have done, or look for another appropriate way to take responsibility for their actions. For example, if a child damages a friend’s toy, they could be asked to buy the friend a new one from their own money or give the friend one of their toys. The process of restitution helps children understand the impact of their actions on others and develop a sense of responsibility for their behavior.

Have Them Do Exercises

Exercising as a form of punishment is a great way to make the child spend his or her energy somewhere else and also helps them understand the importance of exercising. This can be a way for children to let out their anger and frustration, which they are going to feel when you punish them.

When a child misbehaves or breaks the rules, having his or her do exercises, such as push-ups, jumping jacks, or running in place, can provide a moment to cool down, release tension, and refocus their energy. It is especially useful for those children who are not very good at sitting still. But you must remember to use exercise as a punishment carefully and not humiliate or insult your child with it.

Use exercise as a way to help your child take a break from negative behavior and gain better self-control. The focus is not to cause pain or discomfort but to develop self-discipline and an understanding of the benefits of exercise. This is also a great way to promote a healthy lifestyle and teach children the importance of movement in maintaining overall well-being and health. But just like any other punishment, exercise needs to be balanced with communication, discussion, and positive reinforcement.

Allocate House Chores

Using house chores as a form of punishment can be a very good way to discipline children and teach them about responsibility and accountability. When a child misbehaves or does not complete a task that was assigned to him or her, assigning specific house chores can serve as a consequence of their actions. The allocation of house chores as a punishment should be age-appropriate and related to misbehavior whenever possible.

For example, if a child leaves their toys around the living room, having them clean up the mess can help them understand the importance of tidiness and respecting shared spaces. Similarly, if they fail to complete their homework, assigning them additional chores, like setting the table or folding laundry, can be a very good way to teach them the importance of completing their tasks and doing things on time.

Take Away Their Technology

Taking away a child’s technological devices can be a great way to discipline the child, especially if the misbehavior was caused by or related to using the device too much or in the wrong way. Taking their devices (phones, tablets, pads, or games) is very effective in helping children understand the proper use of technology.

Not only will this teach them the responsible use of technology, but it will also make them look for activities outside of their devices, which is very important to develop other aspects of their lives. But you must remember to tell them clearly and calmly why their devices are being taken away and for how long. Also, as mentioned before, this punishment needs to be paired with positive discussion and reinforcement and should be used in moderation.

Send Them To Bed Early

Send Them To Bed Early

Sending a child to bed early as a consequence can be an effective way to address bedtime-related issues or help kids understand the importance of getting enough rest. If a child consistently refuses to follow the bedtime rules, complete their routine, or misbehaves before bedtime, an early bedtime can help them understand the significance of consistent sleep habits. This punishment promotes healthy sleep patterns, ensuring children get enough rest for their well-being and development.

Additionally, an early bedtime highlights the relationship between behavior and consequences, helping children understand why and how their choices will affect them in the future. Explaining the reason for the earlier bedtime and discussing ways to improve their behavior can enhance the effectiveness of this form of punishment.

Grounding Your Kids

Grounding your kids is a punishment that involves restricting their privileges and activities outside the home as a consequence of their misbehavior. When a child breaks the rules, disrespects boundaries, or does something inappropriate, parents can decide to impose a grounding punishment to teach responsibility and encourage better choices.

During the grounding period, the child is generally not allowed to participate in extracurricular activities, hang out with friends, or use electronic devices (except when they are needed for school work). The duration of grounding can vary depending on the severity of the misbehavior and the child’s age.

Grounding can be a great form of discipline when used appropriately and combined with open communication. It helps children understand that their actions have consequences and encourages them to reflect on their behavior. Additionally, grounding provides an opportunity for the child to spend more time at home, promoting family bonding and interaction.

Parents should communicate the reasons for grounding and discuss what the child can do to avoid such consequences in the future. Combining grounding with positive reinforcement for improved behavior and offering opportunities for open dialogue can improve its effectiveness as a discipline strategy.

Punishment Jar

A punishment jar is a discipline tool that can be used to address behavior issues and consequences creatively and interactively. The concept involves creating a jar or container filled with various consequences or tasks, and when a child misbehaves, they randomly select a consequence from the jar.

The punishment jar approach is a creative punishment to teach children about accountability and consequences while still having a positive and supportive environment. But it also needs discussion and conversation for it to be one of the effective discipline strategies.

Have Them Help Clean Around The House

Having children help clean around the house is an effective form of punishment that promotes responsibility, accountability, and the value of contributing to the family or household. Assigning age-appropriate chores to children when they misbehave or don’t complete their responsibilities is not only great for teaching them responsibility for their actions but also teaches them important life skills.

When children are involved in cleaning tasks, they learn the importance of taking care of their surroundings, respecting shared spaces, and understanding the effort required to maintain a clean and organized home. Not only this, but cleaning together as a family can strengthen bonds and develop a sense of teamwork and cooperation.

By participating in household chores as a form of discipline, children begin to internalize the connection between their actions and the impact they have on others. It helps them understand that every member of the family has a role to play in contributing to the well-being of the household.

Bottom Line

Having the right punishments not only helps children understand that inappropriate or aggressive behavior is not right, but that it will also have consequences. Traditional physical punishment, time outs, and harsh consequences can often do more harm than good. Instead, punishments you give to your child should be focused on teaching them responsibility and the importance of their actions.