13 July 2012


So, a friend has asked me about disciplining kids/preteens.
I was a bit of a troublemaker (Yes, this perfect angel was a troublemaker in their younger days :O ) growing up, so I figured I could help them out.

Kids these days have a preconceived notion of entitlement.  Sometimes its learned from society, sometimes from their upbringing.
I was brought up nomadically, with my dad, and therefore had few possessions when I was really young.  Coming to live with my parents, I had my own room, my own bed, my own stuff.
I got a little self-entitled at some point.

My parents solution to the problem was a simple one.
When grounding and other punishments didn't work.  Yelling and swatting didn't work.  Extra chores, and limited activities didn't work.  They did something drastic:

They took everything out of my room, minus my mattress and dresser.  They left me with 5 pairs of jeans, 5 pairs of socks/underwear/undershirts, 4 button-up shirts, and a church shirt.  Two pairs of shoes (sneakers and work boots) and a comb for my hair.
They took my door as well.

For every day I did my chores, homework, and didn't pitch an attitude, I got one item back.
For every time I went out of my way to be good, I could get another item back.
Every time I did something wrong (defiance, not doing chores, not doing homework, tantrum..... I could get as many as 5 things taken away that day)
My parents didn't add more chores to my list, because living on a small farm, I had plenty of them.  And homework.

I resisted, and even got my bed taken away.... sleeping bags on a hardwood floor are quick motivators.
And it definitely made me more calculated in my decision making.
It took me 1 week to earn back my matress
It took me 2 weeks to get my bedframe back.
It took me a month to get my "nice" clothes back (the ones I preferred to wear to school)
It took me 4 months to get my door back.

I definitely had a greater appreciation for my privileges.


  1. We did something, although not so harsh, with my daughter when she was probably 4. We took everything out of her room except the books on her bookshelf and her bed. Once she started behaving at school and we stopped getting reports about her fighting or talking out of turn, we would let her choose an item to get back. She is now a 15 year old angel (well, as much as a teenager girl can be!)


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