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Effective Discipline Techniques for Children

Updated on August 9, 2012

Three Unconventional Methods of Discipline

  • Clean bathrooms when you are bored
  • Take walks with the person with whom you are arguing
  • Sentencing community service

I have been a Mom for just over seven years, but I have been watching moms my whole life. I have seen what works well and what has not. I am still learning how to most effectively discipline our children, but so far we are doing well. I have great kids who are at times just that…kids. As a result, it is our job as parents to remind them of their behaviors and find creative ways to discipline them. So far, we have three methods of discipline in our house that are unconventional and are working out great.

Kids Cleaning the Bathroom

If the kids are bored, they clean the bathroom
If the kids are bored, they clean the bathroom | Source

How to Get Clean Bathrooms

If our kids say they are bored, they get to clean the bathroom. One of my older sisters implemented this with her children and I love it! I don’t like to clean the bathroom as much as I don’t like to hear that kids are bored. Our kids are never lacking things to do, items to play with or people to hang out with. There is never a legitimate reason to be bored. My kids can ask for ideas of things to do, but they are not allowed to utter the dreaded, “Mom, I am bored!”

To date, I have only had my bathroom cleaned three times as a result of boredom. I am amazed at how quickly that took care of that issue. Every once in a while I will hear another child tell their mom they are bored. My kids tell them, “If you lived in our house, you would have to clean the bathroom!” and they laugh. The bored child quickly becomes a little less bored.

Children Walking Around the Block

If the kids don't get along, they walk around the block holding hands
If the kids don't get along, they walk around the block holding hands | Source

Take a Walk with your Enemy

If my kids aren’t getting along, they get to walk around the block holding hands. I think our neighbors might just think our kids love each other ‘so much’, however it is quite the contrary. There are days when two of our children are like oil and water. We give them one lap around the block holding hands to work it out. When they return, they are either getting along or they take another lap. When we were on vacation, we had to make up a few lap routes since we weren’t at home.

The other day, my five year old son told me he thought he might be getting close to not getting along with his brother and said they needed a lap. I looked in amazement, laughed in my head, quickly agreed and sent them out the door for their lap.

Looking For Ways to Serve the Community

Son offering community service to a neighbor
Son offering community service to a neighbor | Source

Community Service

Community service has only been sentenced a few times in our house. My step daughter is now nineteen and managed to make it out of high school with only three infractions worthy of community service. In our house, community service is like being grounded except for the grumpy defendant is not sulking in our house.

We determine the amount of hours associated with the infraction and that much time must be donated to a non-family member. One of my step daughter’s infractions was worth three hours and therefore a neighbor benefited from three hours of free babysitting. No explanation needed to be made other than my step daughter was interested and willing to donate some time to their family. Some neighbors had their fingers crossed that more community service would be sentenced, but she is a good kid and no such luck!

Our five young children have not received this sentence yet, but we know it will happen. If they are too young to babysit or mow the grass, it is possible that some plants will be watered, some dog poop will be picked up or even some weeds will be pulled for another family.

Try our Methods of Discipline

My kids laugh about the prospect of being bored. They quickly play nicer when two of their siblings head off for the sidewalk holding hands. Community service has been explained and I think they might be a little nervous. We have found these are three ways to discipline our children and still keep the mood light.

They know the rules. They know the punishments.

How do you discipline your children? If you have some methods that aren’t working, try a few of ours. I don’t guarantee absolute success, but what is the worst that can happen?


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    • twinstimes2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Lackey 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks, mlzingarella! I am a little devious (ha!), but I agree, we aren't punishing and that is all. I think they are learning along the way as well. I hope the 'walk with your enemy' works for you, too!

    • mlzingarella profile image


      6 years ago from Massachusetts

      I like that your ideas empower your children. You are not simply punishing them, but in a sneaky (but not devious sort of way) you are making them more worldly and aware of others. We parents have to be creative, I love the "walk with your enemy" idea, I will use that one. A useful hub. Voted up!

    • twinstimes2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Lackey 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks, kingmaxler. We are considering buying a new house and the kids have already discussed where the 'new route' around the block will be. I told them if they just get along, we don't need a new route! Thanks for taking the time to comment!

    • twinstimes2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Lackey 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks, Jeani! Our kids are still pretty young so these methods are still effective. Hopefully we can keep the group on track when we hit the teenage years! thanks for reading!

    • kingmaxler profile image


      6 years ago from Olympia, Washington USA

      I am so enamored with your parenting techniques, especially walking around the block together when not getting along. Thank you and voted up, up and away.

    • Jeani Nugent profile image

      Jeanine Elizabeth 

      6 years ago from Cumberland, Wisconsin

      Love how the discipline also teaches an important and valuable life skill...wish out legal system implemented similar things!

    • twinstimes2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Lackey 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Volunteering is always awesome. Helping others is so much better than grumpy kids in trouble! I love your idea of having kids volunteer. It is never to early to give back to the community.

    • chrissieklinger profile image


      6 years ago from Pennsylvania

      my mom let us do community service as a way to get out of being grounded....maybe that is why I enjoy volunteering now as an adult:)

    • twinstimes2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Lackey 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks, Sharyn. I didn't want to take away for what my son was saying, but I was laughing in my head as well. Thanks for reading, Sharyn!

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 

      6 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Karen ~ this is awesome. I literally laughed out loud when I read your son thought he might be getting close to not getting along. ha ha, so cute. I don't even have any kids and I love your tips.

    • twinstimes2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Lackey 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks, jellygator. I would love to know what you did as well in case they would benefit us. I know we have YEARS left of this parenting thing!

    • jellygator profile image


      6 years ago from USA

      I love it! I used some similar methods with my children and I wouldn't change it a bit.

    • twinstimes2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Lackey 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      My kids are 7,7,5,5,2 so these methods are still working. You might be entering the community service age though! :) Thanks for reading!

    • theraggededge profile image

      Bev G 

      6 years ago from Wales, UK

      Really good ideas - though I can't envision my 13 year old holding hands with his 10 year old sister unless he was trying to prise her hands off his neck! Just kidding, they bicker somewhat, but are not badly behaved. I wish I'd known about the bathroom one when they were younger - my daughter is on bathroom sink duty this week, while son has to vacuum upstairs hallway.

    • twinstimes2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Lackey 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Brainy, my kids are not perfect, but they don't say they are bored. I love the bathroom rule! The laughed posing for the picture because they saw it won't happen to them again. Thanks for reading!

    • Brainy Bunny profile image

      Brainy Bunny 

      6 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

      I love the bathroom idea, too! I have made similar suggestions, but have not followed through in any systematic way. Maybe it's time for me to institute a new rule!

    • twinstimes2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Lackey 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks, Made. We are trying to teach our kids the right things to do but at times, they need to be corrected. We have found these three ways have either corrected actions or deterred them from doing them again

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • Made profile image

      Madeleine Salin 

      6 years ago from Finland

      These are some good ideas. It's a good way to learn children how to take responsibility for their actions.

    • twinstimes2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Lackey 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks, Sparkle Chi, for the shares! I like the reading idea, too. I think these type of corrections remind the kids of what they did wrong, but there is some positive benefits as well. Great idea!

    • twinstimes2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Lackey 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks, Billy. We liked the idea that at least someone could benefit from the 'mistake' and it gave the child extra time to think about it, too. Also, the punishment was not a long drawn out process. Thanks for commenting, too!

    • Sparkle Chi profile image


      6 years ago from Chandler, AZ

      Fabulous ideas! I have been a mother for nineteen years, and used thoughts like these myself! My youngest two are my toughest cases. At 9 and 12, my boys are oil and water constantly!

      Just this summer, I started a policy of reading for complaining. Any complaining, whining, or arguing gave them an automatic reading assignment. It would take five minutes or less, but it has been enough time for them to change their thinking and approach things with a new attitude. The bonus is that their reading has improved quite a bit recently! :)

      Voted up, and shared on Twitter and Facebook!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great idea! I especially love the community service punishment. I'm all for kids learning to help others.

    • twinstimes2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Lackey 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Debi, I was amazed out how quickly boredom was busted. Our block is .25 miles and no streets are crossed. On vacation, they walked back and forth on the beach. Ben has yet to cause enough issues to be involved in any of these! You can always keep them in the back of your head until they get older. Thanks for reading!

    • Debi Gnau profile image

      Debi Gnau 

      6 years ago from Kettering, Ohio

      I have read about your bathroom idea before. I instantly told Mindy the new rule and as luck would have it (for her) she has not been bored since. Thanks for the great idea! I also love the idea to take a walk with your "enemy" however, I can not trust my two little ones to walk anywhere yet. I am still trying to figure out how to make this work for my family.

    • twinstimes2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Lackey 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      I remember my sister doing the bathroom idea, but it did not resonate until I had my own kids. It is genius! Thanks for commenting, Natasha.

    • Natashalh profile image


      6 years ago from Hawaii

      I love your bathroom cleaning idea! I surprised my grandmother didn't come up with that one, too. It sounds like something she would do. I will have to remember it for when I have kids.


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