I was just reading the article about the mom who made her child wear "ugly" clothes to school because she had been bullying someone about the clothes that they were wearing. I guess that someone thought it was a dreadful punishment. Personally, it is exactly what I would have done. (K wears the American school uniform. For us, it doesn't apply.)
It got me to thinking about weird things I've done. I remember blogging about K and the broken crayons. I know that some people would have thought I was horrible. I recall standing outside the kindergarten door, calling K to come so that we can go to the store. Her teacher asked in a sing-songy fun voice, "Are you buying something fun?" K told her that she was going to go buy a box of crayons. Mrs. H kind of tipped her head a bit and I explained what happened. I told her that there had been some kindergarten peer pressure, K broke up all of her crayons as a result and were now going to replace them.
"I wondered why she was using broken crayons all week."
"I told her that she had to. I told her that she had to not only use the broken crayons, but she also needed to do extra chores to earn money to purchase a box of crayons herself. The box of crayons she buys has to be Crayola and I'm taking her to Walgreen's so that the $2.00 that she earned will be basically entirely spent on that box."
She told me that she would have a talk with the class about treating our friends nicely and so forth. She understood my doing that, but in mom circles just like the article that I've referenced above, I would have probably been considered abusive.
You know what? It didn't hurt K. It did, however, teach her a lesson.
K is currently under TV restriction. She did poorly on a reading test that we studied and studied on. She didn't read carefully and didn't do well. The OAA has really made K's brain check out, but I told her that she must press on for a few weeks longer. K is without TV until I get that test in my hand and see that she has done better. Yes, I realize that it is a long holiday weekend. (She got a D. A C or better in my house is what we consider passable.) K had gotten two D's a few weeks ago on her weekly reading tests, got a C, then went back to a D. She called and she 'fessed up. I told her that first and foremost, we wanted to praise that 100% on the spelling test. I told her that we would look over the reading test to see what went wrong. Part of the wrongness was that the teacher missed a question and marked it wrong when it was right. She also didn't count written answers for points, when clearly one answer should have been 1/2 credit. I did mention the question that was completely right. Hubs wanted me to mention the written responses and I told him that they were subjective and I won't argue those. Part of K thinking that her teacher isn't loving her isn't helping her cause. Still, a few more weeks and we are outta there. She's got to know that her brain must still function. It is not an option.
Other unusual punishments? K had repeatedly (for months and months) forgotten her chores. I was so tired of getting after her about them that I came upon a wonderful idea. I wait until she is good and asleep. Snoring. I then go and give her a good shake. It's only taken twice of my having to wake her from deep sleep and have her take recycling out to the bin in the rain, in the dark and down the back yard and break down her lunch pack. She makes a point of telling me, "Mom! Look! I'm taking the recycling out!" She's even good at remembering to take the compost container down to the barrel and emptying it out, too.
I also have K write. If I have to have her write about something a few different times, what she writes gets longer. I have one on my desk right now. "I will not moan and groan." There is also, "I will obey my mom and dad. I will listen to what I am told and I will NOT do as I choose anyway. I will do what I am told the FIRST time." (Obviously, I've had to have her write that one 4 different times. It grows a sentence each time we have to have her write it.) It starts with 5 and goes up with 5 time increments until she has stopped the grumbling and funkiness. She's written 10x. She's written 35x. It doesn't hurt her and maybe she'll learn how to spell a few new words.
I think that it is important that we discipline our children. I applaud creativity with discipline. I don't applaud abusiveness. The children will remember what we went through to try to teach them a lesson. Hopefully, it will stick.