Aug 25, 2010

Punishment by degrees

I came up with a new genius way to give consequences today.

My girls were told to clean up the mess they made in the living room. One of my girls said outright, "I'm NOT going to clean."

I looked her in the eye and said, "Then you're going to bed an hour early. If you don't clean the living room, you don't get to enjoy the living room after dinnertime with everyone else."

They all busily went about cleaning after this. I gave them a reasonable time period to get it done, and it did get finished.

With one disclaimer.

"(this child) didn't clean!" exclaims one of the other children.

"No, she didn't." Another child shakes her head vigorously.

I look said child in the eye. "Did you clean?"

Child nods, but with a guilty look in her eye. "I did."

"But she stopped and played for a little while when the rest of us were finishing."

"Hm," I say. "Is this true?"

Guilty slight nod.

"Well, you only disobeyed me a little bit. So maybe I'll just give you a little bit of the punishment. You can go to bed ten minutes early instead of an hour early. OK?"

Weeping, bewailing and gnashing of teeth. So obviously it was an effective punishment. (Am I evil that I gauge the effectiveness of my consequences by the sadness they cause?)

ANyway, I'm seeing all sorts of possibilities.

Just a LITTLE bit of extra cleaning up--more than everyone else.

Only SOME treat--Just a little less than everyone else.

I'm thinking with this new lovely vista of options opening up before my eyes, I might eliminate the straggling obedience problem I have altogether!

Am I evil to be this excited about it all?

5 comments:

the quirky one in the family said...

I LOVE it! It seems to me very much like the non-enforced peer pressure that kids feel in public schools, but with great consequenses in the family setting! And it works great the larger the family is! We started trying this out already this month, with our oldest and youngest getting an already promised treat for good obedience in the grocery store, while our middle two missed out on it because of how they acted in the store. They were really upset, but the next shopping visit went much more smoothly even though there wasn't a promised treat at the end! Fun stuff! And no, I don't think yo uare an evil mom for thinking that!

Putz said...

evil yes, but then god would be evil also since he works that way a lot too, also, i am having trouble with my words today, can you tell????

Dave L said...

Like I always say... Have you tried beating them? :-)

And no, I don't think it makes you bad to judge effectiveness but the ensuing wailing and gnashing of teeth. That's the same standard we use.

merrilykaroly said...

"Only SOME treat--Just a little less than everyone else."

Hahaha! That's perfect!!!

Cami said...

You are such a good mother! You have so much patience and you stand by what you say. Thanks for the inspiration!