Lisa Welchel has a great book out on Creative Discipline. Although I only use a few of her specific ideas, I did find the book extremely liberating in the area of using creativity to help the punishment fit the crime when dealing with my kids.
My boys have been talking/ dreaming of making their rabbit and chicken “farm” into a money-making business. Right now, they do earn money at it by showing and then auctioning their animals at the 4-H fair. With one of them nearly a teen and the others not too far behind, turning their mini-farm into a business is VERY feasible with a little help from me and their dad.
The first thing we discussed with them was that the outward appearance of their farm was imperative for the success of their business. If the barn and barn yard are messy, sloppy, and have garbage blowing in the wind, people are not going to think very highly of their farming practices and will not want to do business with them. An unkept barn and yard allows people to assume that the animals are unkept as well.
So, every day after school I have been helping them get some spring cleaning done out there. Tuesday, I realized that they do a lot of goofing around down there (after all, they are boys) and have used many of the tools and supplies kept in the barn for things other than their intended purpose. I’m missing some hand tools, other tools were left on the bare ground all winter and rusted, barn and yard tools have been used for “wacking” things and are bent beyond recognition, storage totes have been used for chairs and “boats” and have cracked under pressure, etc. This type of thing has a way of irritating well-intended adults who leave these items in the barn to make the kid’s jobs easier. . .. .
It was time to serve up some creative discipline to get the point across that everyone must take responsibility for the things they are given and respect tools by using them for only their intended purpose. I re-instated allowance (I have not found allowance to be very motivating at our house in the past but I’m giving it another try). BUT, the allowance will not be paid to them until they “pay back”, at the rate of $1/chore, what they owe for things that will need replaced. Once they have worked off their debt, then they will receive allowance at a smashing rate of 10 cents per chore. This may not sound like much but at 3-5 chores/day that is .50/day x 7 days = 3.50/week x 4weeks= $14 a month for 3 kids!!! (if I did my math right).
What creative discipline techniques have you used?