This week I had the honor of meeting with a concerned parent who was dealing with some difficult challenges with their teenager. They have a very strong willed child, who despite traditional discipline continues to choose to be disobedient and runs straight into poor choices and decisions. They have tried grounding, taking the cell phone away, cutting off all access to the computer and social media, as well as limited and restricting access to friends and they still seem to be coming up empty in finding ways to effectively discipline their child.
The longer we talked, the more I began to think about how each child is different. Even in my own family each child had different types of discipline that were effective. For me, just take my friends away and you could get me to do anything you wanted. All it took for my younger brother was that look of disappointment and he would melt. My sister and older brother were completely different. My parents tried everything and nothing worked. It did not matter what you did, it seemed like it had no effect on them.
My older brother would always fight with me growing up. Now I never did anything to prompt it, however he always seemed to mess with me. I say that jokingly, but it was true to a degree, my mom and dad tried forever to figure out creative discipline strategies that would stop my brother from instigating fights with me. I remember my favorite was if they found out that he instigated the fight, then I would get to spank him with the paddle! I loved it, except for the punishment he would then inflict on me when mom and dad were gone. As much as I loved it, even this creative discipline strategy failed. Then finally my mom and dad found a strategy that worked. The only problem was that I got punished alongside of him. Any time he instigated a fight with me, my parents would make up go out on the front porch and sit with our noses touching. We could not say anything, and we had to keep our hands behind our backs and sit there with our noses touching. It was horrible, but it worked. We would start the thirty minutes of punishment being so mad at each other, but the longer we sat there the more we would begin to laugh, and the more we laughed the more we forgot about fighting with each other. To this day my mom still says that this strategy cut our fights in half. All it took was some determination and creative discipline.
If you are a parent of a strong willed child that no discipline seems to work on I am sure you are looking and asking others for any ideas that they might have in creative discipline for strong willed kids. I would love to hear any creative discipline ideas that you might have and would want to share with other readers and parents. My only request in doing this is that we show love and respect to each other in our comments. I know that as people share their creative discipline ideas, that others will feel the need to criticize or disagree with their ideas…let’s not do that here! If you don’t like the idea you don’t have to use it. So let’s hear those creative discipline ideas!