Timeouts have their place, but some parents have pushed the envelope when it comes to creative punishments … and their kids remember them all. While these Buzzfeed and Reddit stories are hilariously quirky, the most impressive thing is that these unique strategies have been rather effective.
Piece of cake
“My parents made us eat fruitcake. They kept some frozen in the freezer all year. If we were especially bad, they would thaw some and make us eat it. My dad always said fruitcake was gross, so we all thought it was disgusting.”
All’s fair in love and war
“My mom would make my brother and me copy words from the dictionary when we misbehaved. If we wouldn’t stop doing something we would have to copy all of the definitions for the word ‘stop’ out of the dictionary. We learned very quickly that ‘fair’ is not a word you want to copy. It has a lot of definitions.”
“When my older sister and I were living with my dad, we refused to help wash dishes after dinner, so he packed up everything and made us share a plate, glass and set of cutlery for about a week—it was pretty effective!”
Cat’s out of the bag
“I used to always sleep through my alarm, so my dad once put our cat on my bed, then used a laser toy to make the cat attack me. Haven’t slept past the alarm since.”
Monkey see, monkey do
“My sister and I threw a tantrum in a store one day, so my mother got on the floor and threw a tantrum too. We both just stood there and stared at her. We never did it again.”
The nose knows
“My brother and I would have to touch noses if we started fighting. Sounds weird at first, but it was pretty brilliant because after the first few seconds of, ‘I hate this,’ we would both be laughing and back to normal. Worked every time. Kuddos to you, Mom.”
“As a kid, my backpack was a disgusting collection of garbage, old food and papers I collected. My mom was frustrated by how often I’d lose homework and important flyers in this portable hoard and at one point threatened to buy me a see-through backpack so I couldn’t hide the mess. Years later American Apparel sells them for adults, and I realize I missed an opportunity to be a real trendsetter.”
“I had to write reports based on whatever I did wrong. Once I got caught in a lie and I had to write a report about 5 famous liars. Once I refused to take a bath and I had to write a report about germs. This was before the Internet. We had a set of encyclopedias and that was it. It was surprisingly effective.”
“For a while my mom used to punish me by making me drink pure, unsweetened cranberry juice.”
While one Reddit user can’t remember what was used with her growing up, she is certainly creative for her niece’s sake: “If my niece acts up while I’m watching her, I tell her she’ll have to watch C-SPAN. Apparently, Senate approval hearings are torture to a 4 year old. I also have her convinced that TVs get sick. You have to read to them before they get better.”
Hurry, she needs CPR!
“My mom always called it CPR. If we cried in public, she’d assume we were injured, take us to the ground and blow into our noses. The crippling embarrassment would stop us in our tracks just from the mere mention of this torture.”
I love you. You love me
“My parents made us hug at the bottom of the driveway so the neighbors could see we loved each other.”
A teaching moment
Kari, another Reddit user, might have the funniest punishment memory of them all: “In elementary school, there was a teacher everyone knew about, Mrs. Watts. If you were bad, she would put on this bright red lipstick and kiss you on the cheek, and you had to leave it on all day so everyone knew you had been bad.”
You’ve got to love adults who decide to have a bit of a laugh when kids aren’t exactly angels.