It's a challenge to punish your children in a way that matters. Something that might matter a immensely to them one day, perhaps their favorite show or their favorite toy, can be easily tossed aside the next day. This means your grand consequence is essentially worthless. As a parent, you need to know what works and what doesn't...but sometimes, parents go in weird directions, as evidenced by the stories below.
Reddit user, u/Bamboozled_Bear, wanted to know what was so weird about your time-outs when they asked:
What's the oddest punishment your parent(s) have given you for misbehaving/breaking rules growing up?
"I Am A Guy."Giphy
My dad made me go out in a dress one time. I am a guy.
I was staying with him for a week, and skipped school one day. He came home to get something and found me watching TV and I said I was sick and couldn't go. He goes back to work. Problem was, this was a Friday and there was a party.
My dad and my step-mom come home and start making dinner. I get better and afterwards say I'm going out. Obviously this was met with skepticism.
My friends showed up in the midst of this. I argue my position passionately. At a certain point, my friends were dying laughing, and my dad switched from trying to get me to admit I lied, to just seeing how far I'd go to prove I hadn't. He even got my friends to tell him where we were going, and just kept saying he couldn't believe how "improbable" the whole thing was. He even told me I could go if I just admitted I lied about being sick. But, I was dug in.
I told him he could pick what I wore in order to prove I wasn't lying (my dad has notoriously terrible taste and this was way before "norm-core").
My dad picked a dress made from the back pockets of jeans. Like an entire dress made of denim back pockets. It was f-cking absurd and extremely uncomfortable. A massive jean dress made of exclusively seams. It didn't breathe, it barely moved, it chaffed. I didn't give a sh-t about wearing a dress, but this was torture.
Ya so I wore that to a party.
Just Nothing. Nothing.
My dad once made my sister and I watch a freshly painted wall dry
Let The Punishment Fit The Crime?
My mother told me I wasn't allowed to talk for the rest of the day, because I licked my arm pit in front of one of my sister's cute friends.
Halting That Perfect Smile
They cancelled my braces. I was with a friend who got caught stealing, after denying any involvement for hours my parents refused to believe me and threatened to hurt my friend (even went to her house) I eventually lied and said I was involved and they cancelled my braces.
Still have crooked teeth to this day, and my parents think I'm a petty thief.
You're Your Own Worst Enemy
The weirdest punishment my mother came up with was making me write a two page essay about why I had broken a rule, then write it again and again until she got home from work.
The weirdest punishment my father came up with was making me put away all my stuff instead of going to see a movie.
But that wasn't sh-t. I was a weird kid with a guilt complex deep as a trench. I'd punish myself sometimes for random things that my parents didn't feel really called for punishment. Sometimes it was simple sh-t like standing in a corner unprompted. One time I coated my tongue in pepper because I gave my mother trouble eating dinner.
But the grand prize winner was probably when, at the age of 7, I made myself watch the movie ALIEN alone in the dark. I don't even remember what I'd done to conclude I needed this, but I felt that the only answer was to scare the sh-t out of myself.
You Lose It All
When I was 15 I got my entire bedroom taken away for 5 months because I missed the bus.. the only thing i had in my room was a mattress and a pillow, no sheet or anything just a pillow
14 years old. Friend used me as an alibi for when she got hammered, without me knowing. This ended up not saving her ass, but handing me mine. Instead of saying 'were you with her when she was drinking?' they took the tack of 'you were there too, so you must have been drinking'— which is wrong, I wasn't there, she just wanted to alibi herself out of trouble.
Parents refused to listen to me and grounded me for a year. I did the year (what option did I have?) and after that, refused to tell them anything ever again. I had told the truth and they didn't believe me. I never recovered from the damage that did, and to this day I tell them next to nothing. I'm 46 years old.
Punishment In More Than One Language
I grew up bilingual in English and Hebrew. My parents aren't religiously Jewish and my mom is only part ethnically Jewish, but they both studied Hebrew in college and wanted me to grow up bilingual. Makes you smarter, apparently.
Anyways, when I was ten, I swore for the first time out of anger in front of my parents. This wasn't just normal swearing either; this was really, really bad. I had heard those words at school a few months before. They then calmly decided that for a week (this was during summer vacation so I didn't have to go to school), I would have to speak in nothing but Hebrew.
It didn't matter where we went. We went to the pharmacy, the grocery store, and other places we normally went during that week. To a cashier, to other kids at the playground, to my parents, and literally everyone else I could only speak Hebrew.
It was honestly torture. No one knew what I was saying. I wasn't allowed to write anything down either. I tried my best to gesture about what I was trying to say but that confused people even more. Other kids wouldn't play with me because they thought I was insane. I was so embarrassed and adults would just give my parents sad, sympathetic looks like "You poor people. Your daughter is crazy" or even asking if I was adopted and then asking how I was adjusting to the States.
Needless to say, I never swore in front of my parents again.
Wait...Back In The Box?
Dad got real pissed once and dumped out a box of fruit loops. Made me sort them by color, count each, add them together, then vacuum up the crumbs after I put them back in the box.
Being Forced To Do It Again In A Way You Hate
So I had to write "I won't lie and do my work." In cursive cause I didn't want to do a reading log in cursive. Honestly I hated that thing. Cursive sucks.
Nothing That Harms Them, Just Sends A Message
My mother's go-to punishment, which I'm sure I will carry on when I become a parent, was cold water in the face. Just enough to shock you. I have vivid memories of each time she came at me with a cup of water (and I got it the most out of my siblings).
Once, my youngest brother was throwing a tantrum in the kitchen while she was washing dishes. Just turned around and shot him with the sprayer. Definitely not the strangest I've seen, but also more creative than time outs or spanking. Very effective as well.
Just Stare At It
I could put the ketchup on the table but was only allowed to look at it. My crime? Asking my foodie dad if I could have ketchup on my steak, I was 7 and that's how I'd always had it when my mom cooked it.
Not to be out done, my mother grounded me from reading because I kept staying up late past my bedtime reading books.
Hot Sauce Is Also An Interesting Variant
We would get mustard pasted on to our tongues if we swore or told lies.
Once we were driven to the local police station because neither of us would admit to tearing the wallpaper, my brother finally admitted it at the last minute. We were very young, I thought we were gonna get locked up.
Punishment By Snuggle
Got grounded for punching my best friend in a fit of rage, my punishment was to get my pyjamas on right after dinner. This was peak summer and we always used to go round for each other after dinner. When door went I was forced to answer door in my pyjamas at 6 pm and explain why I wasn't allowed out. Worst thing was it was the boy I punched at door so was no hard feelings.
Get In Reeeeeeeal Close
Standing nose to nose in the middle of the room with the sibling you were just fighting with....
Threaten The Funko
This happened maybe a week ago:
I was arguing about something with my mom in my room, when all of a sudden during the arguement she walked up to one of my shelves, grabbed an arm full of my Funko Pop figurines, opened my window and threatened to throw them out if I didn't listen to her.
We have a lot of fun in this household.
Erasing The Torture You've Given YourselfGiphy
When I was like 8 my parents made me dig a 4 foot wide, 4 foot long and 4 foot deep hole in the backyard and then just fill it back in because I lied.
The ULTIMATE Guilt Trip
While fighting over a beanbag chair, my brother pushed me and I fell on the fireplace. Busted the back of my head open. My father swooped me up and rushed me to get stitches.
I was 5, my brother was 10.
It wasn't until many years later that I found out how my mother dealt with my brother after my father and I left.
As the door closed behind my father, carrying me out the front door, my mother looked at my brother and said, "Well, you killed your sister."