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Creative Discipline Ideas

Updated on October 17, 2014

No Tardies Allowed



"Confidence comes from discipline and training." Robert Kiyosaki

Busted, Criminal Tardiness


I'm Sending Him to AEP

"I'm sending him to Alternative Education Program. I'm not putting up with this. You better talk to him."

These were the words I heard when as a new educational diagnostician, I met the assistant principal of my assigned school for the first time. Since my background was in behavior management, I sat down in the chair across from her desk and asked, "Who are you talking about? What is he doing?"

"Jeremy. He's late for school every morning."

"Okay, what else?"

"Nothing. That's all he does, but I'm not putting up with it. If you don't straighten him out, you can call an IEP meeting and send him to AEP." This assistant principal talked at breakneck speed. I think she took a breath when she got up in the morning and just rode it the rest of the day. She sure didn't stop talking long enough to take another one.

I thought you want me to send a senior in high school to a school where he will enter through a metal detector and then be physically searched for tardiness.

I said, "Okay, I'll talk to him. Where is he right now?"

She looked up at the clock. It was 2:00 p.m. School dismissed at 3:00 p.m. She replied, "Yeah, I think he's still here."

"What do you mean YOU THINK HE'S STILL HERE?"

"Well, he doesn't need the credit, so I told him he could leave during the last period. He leaves early every day."

I was furious. "Not when he's late for the first period he doesn't."

"Oh. I never thought of that." She said like it was the most marvelous revelation she had ever heard.

I had to leave her office before I opened my mouth again. I walked straight out to the In-School-Suspension room and announced I wanted to speak to Jeremy alone. One coach escorted Jeremy and myself into another room. The coaches all stood up and left the room. I said, "Why are you late for school every day?"

Jeremy said, "Just wake up late."

I said, "Well, I really don't care what time you come to school." His shocked facial expression needed no words. I continued. "The state of Texas says that you owe us seven hours every day. You will pay those seven hours. I don't care if you come in at 8:00 and leave at 3:00 with everyone else. You can come in at 9:00 and leave at 4:00. I don't even care if you come in at 10:00 and leave at 5:00."

I said, "Well, I really don't care what time you come to school." His shocked facial expression needed no words. I continued. "The state of Texas says that you owe us seven hours every day. You will pay those seven hours. I don't care if you come in at 8:00 and leave at 3:00 with everyone else. You can come in at 9:00 and leave at 4:00. I don't even care if you come in at 10:00 and leave at 5:00."

"Where will I go?"

"You'll go back to your first period class. You missed it, so you go to it at the end of the day. No matter what time you get here, you will leave seven hours later."

Jeremy was never late for school again.


Shoes Hinder Education

'Skeeter' was entering first grade and had wanted a specific pair of tennis school. All summer he had asked his mother to buy those tennis shoes for him. School started and his mother decided to buy him the much coveted tennis shoes.

'Skeeter' was in my class of struggling students. Not only was he a struggling student, he was a lazy student. Several weeks into the year, his mother came to the school to deliver something. I took the opportunity to tell her that he wasn't completing his work. She looked down at him and asked, "Why aren't you doing your work?"

"I don't know."

"You don't know why you aren't doing your work?"


"It must be your new tennis shoes not letting you do your work. Last year when you wore your old tennis shoe, you did your work. So this afternoon when you get home, put those tennis shoes in your closet and wear your old tennis shoes for the next two weeks. Let's see if that helps you do your work."

Ugly Jeans Cure Misbehavior


Disciplinary Alternative Education Placement Jeans

Andrea craved attention and did whatever necessary to get it. In school she was disruptive and disrespectful. Nothing major, just constant inappropriate behavior to gain the attention she thought she deserved.

She had been sent to ISS and her parents had been called. There was no change in her behavior. Finally she had so many referrals, the administration decided to send her off campus for a six weeks. They informed her parents that Andrea would be attending Disciplinary Alternative Education Placement.

Five weeks into her assignment, I visited with Andrea. "It's almost time for you to come back to campus. Are you ready?"

"I'm ready to get rid of these jeans."

"What do you mean?"

"My mother has made me wear these jeans every day."

A couple of day later I visited with her mother and told her about Andrea's disgust over the jeans. Her mother laughed and said, "When she got assigned to DAEP, I went to Goodwill and found the ugliest jeans I could. Then I told her she would have to wear those jeans every day until she got out of DAEP."

Andrea returned to campus and was never sent back to DAEP.

Magic Moment: Creative Discipline

Hostage Tennis Shoes


Pick Up Those Shoes

I wasn't a fanatic about the cleanliness of my house. As long as it was presentable, I was comfortable. However, when I asked my children to do something, I expected it to be done. When our youngest son was about 14 years old, I noticed his tennis shoes in the middle of the living room floor. And I mean the MIDDLE of the room.

As he came through the living room, I said, "You need to pick up those shoes."

He replied, "Okay, I'm busy right now. I'll do it in a minute."

I didn't have a problem with that. It wasn't something that needed to be done immediately. Several hours later, I realized those shoes hadn't been moved. "Tommy, you need to pick those shoes up and take them to your room."

He answered, "Okay, just a minute. I'm kind of busy right now."

Again, not a problem with me.

The next morning those shoes were still in the living room. As he walked through the living room, I said, "Tommy, I asked you to pick up those tennis shoes. Take them to your room."

"Okay, I will. I'll get them in a minute."

Several hours later I noticed the tennis shoes in the floor. Three times in 24 hours I had asked him to pick up the shoes. I picked them up and put them in the top of the coat closet. Since it was summer, no one looked in that closet.

Several days went by before he asked about his shoes. "Mom, I can't find my shoes."

"What shoes?"

He promptly described them.

"Well, they were on the floor of the living room. I remember telling you to pick them up. Where did you put them?"

"I didn't pick them up."

"Then I don't know what to tell you."

Several days later the conversation was repeated.

After two weeks, I opened the closet and handed his hostage tennis shoes over. Then I explained that when I asked him to do something, I expected him to do it.

There was backlash to this discipline. Until the day he left home, whenever he couldn't find something, he'd asked, "Is this another one of those things I forgot to do so you are hiding it from me to teach me a lesson?"

Meaningful Consequences

A good way to teach appropriate behavior choices is to use a consequence that will resonate with the child. In each of these examples, the parent choose a consequence that meant something to the child. Skeeter lost the privilege of wearing his new shoes for two weeks. Andrea lost the privilege of choosing her own clothing or wearing her designer jeans until she completed her DAEP assignment. Tommy literally lost his shoes for two weeks.

In each of these cases the parent used what was important to the child. This drove the lesson home even further. The child learned the lesson much better than if he had been grounded or lost other privileges. For discipline to be effective, it must be meaningful to the child.


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      terrance davis 3 years ago

      Time is definitely no ones friend. The more time you sit around and waste the more time passes by you. Maximize your potential seconds and toss out the precious minutes we watch disappear.