Bad Behavior Before Fun Outings

Updated on June 29, 2011
M.B. asks from Occoquan, VA
18 answers

Recently I have cancelled two awesome outings to to the fact that my oldest was misbehaving terribly before hand. Prior to cancellation there was plenty of warning. Bad behavior persisted, therefore we don't go. I've got a lot of awesome stuff planned this summer, and my oldest has also been acting up as well.

How do you all find the balance? Do you go anyways and just let the bad one sit the whole time? We are working on the behavior, some days are better than others, but I'm very much against "rewarding" bad behavior in any way- and I am very true to my word and ALWAYS follow through. Thing is, the rest of us miss out! My kids are almost 8, 6, 4 and almost 3. All girls.

(BTW, they all are the best behaved kids on the planet when they are alone -and we do "alone time" with each every now and then. BUT four girls- mostly always together, man THAT IS A JOB!!!! :) )

Also, to clarify, the bad behavior isn't just before cool outings, there's no connection. Bad behavior happens on "boring" days as well... and not every outing has been cancelled, just the days where shes been "bad".

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answers from San Francisco on

Can you get a babysitter for the one and take the other three? I think that will send a pretty clear message.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I have encountered this situation before and I've found what seems to work the best is to bring the child on the outing but don't allow them to participate in the fun. I've had mine write sentences on the side while everyone else is having a blast.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Chicago on

Here is what I woul do for your next few outings line up a babysitter in advance....telling them that in the event that any of the kids misbehaves that they will be babysitting that kid(s). (if you don't end up using them - tell them that you will still pay them $10-$20 for being on call) Then the rest of you go and have fun while the misbehaving kid really misses out. I bet you only have to do this once/twice for the kids to see that you mean business and that they will be staying home if they can't act right. Don't tell them that you have a sitter lined up....just in private make the call, and spring it on them. Good luck.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Are you my daughter? Just kidding though she just called a couple minutes ago because my youngest is out of control and she doesn't want to take her to the water park.

Pretty much we always have a plan B, in this case Genna either finds her personality or she goes to grandpa's all day while they have fun. She will do it! That is a big part of it. Saying one more time or I will...doesn't work. The other thing is she has to know that the car will be turned around or they will leave early if she loses her personality again.

At least for us every beginning of summer has this until they remember the rules again.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Medford on

I have to be more careful myself with this one. I threaten to take away a fun activity but don't because its not fair to my other child.

You can either do what the other's suggested (have them earn it), but then what do you do if not all the kids earn it.


Just do the fun activity anyway and disipline with some other thing. Take away something at home (like TV, or Games, toys, or make her do an extra chore).

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Provo on

My husband will ALWAYS remember the time that he had to stay home with a babysitter instead of going with his family to watch 4th of July fireworks because he was lighting fireworks on the trampoline! Likewise, I will always remember the time I threw a fit at a restaurant and my mom took us home and gave us cereal instead.

I think the idea to have a back up plan is a great one. There have been a few times I have told my kiddos that if they misbehave, they will go into the childcare place at the rec center instead of swimming with the rest of the family. Or the misbehaving child stays home with Dad while we go have fun (since Dad is more of a homebody anyway). Or we cancel the activity completely, since it is no fun for anyone if one is acting up. It sucks for everyone else, but I also think the pressure from the other kids helps keep behavior in line- I will hear my 6 year old say, "Hurry and clean up your room! Or we won't get to go swimming!" etc. They will remind each other and also help each other with chores and being good if the consequence affects all of them.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Spokane on

I think Sheryl's idea of a babysitter is great idea! I really don't think it's fair to the other 3 to miss out b/c one misbehaves. That will create some serious resentment! Is the one acting out just getting a little too excited about the plans? Have you tried not notifying her of the plans and just going?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I have O. child so "not going" works for us and only punishes the little offender (and us, sometimes!) but what if you do an "all or nobody" approach? Would the sibling pressure work? Just a thought.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Thank you for asking this question! My husband and I have been trying to figure out what to do when this happens as well when my daughter acts up before outings. We don't want to miss out on things we have planned and let other people down or things we have paid for (and we don't have money to throw away) but we don't want to reward that type of behavior. I will be looking into the advice you get.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Just going through this a little myself with my daughter. We have a trip planned and I warned her that her behavior could cause her to sit out. I hate to punish the whole family for her behavior (plus my sister's family is going too). But I'm glad to have her sit out (and watch others ride the rides for a while) if she's acting out.

I like the idea that others shared about getting a babysitter, if it's possible. That might work too. Good luck! :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Since I'm assuming she understands and chooses to misbehave, I'm going to recommend toughlove, for lack of a better word. She needs to see and understand that her actions have consequences.

If you don't want to take her and have her sit out, which would be difficult in certain situations, I'd line up a sitter, a relative or not, and make sure they won't be treating her to something fun while the rest of you are gone. If they can have her do chores while you're gone that would be even better. I'd also stop giving "plenty of warning," since it seems as if you're being ignored and she should listen the first time.

I wouldn't make a big deal about her losing a privilege as she was already told not to do the behavior. I'd simply be matter of fact about it, "Because you are doing such and such, you won't be going with us to _______."
I'd also implement (if you don't already practice them) consequences for other bad behaviors for all the girls (time-outs are effective for 3 year olds) and continue to be consistent, so she sees it's not just her that is expected to behave.

Hopefully she will not have to miss out on too many of the awesome activities you have planned this summer!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I really love Sheryl's idea!

You could also flip the whole thing and have them "earn" the fun activitiy day-by-day. If the day comes and they have "earned" the trip, then they go regardless of the immediate behavior. If they haven't... oh well!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I didn't read any prior responses but I tend to not take away outings as punishment for bad behavior. Because not only does everyone miss out, then you are all stuck at home which sucks too! Then you have to keep them busy at home which I think is worse! I did cancel one outing one time and now all I have to do is remind my 8 yo "remember when you didn't get to go to the movies with us because you were not being a good listener?" and that usually shapes him up because he knows that I will keep him home again even tho I don't tell him that. Are they acting up literally right before you leave and you call it off? If not, I would have them sit in their room or bathroom (works really well) for the hour or so before you go. I don't really have any good suggestions but to say I don't think everyone missing out on fun solves anything. I hope you find something that works for you...good luck!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

I think that I would find a babysitter for whoever is misbehaving and leave them at home doing some chores, and take the other kid(s) that are behaving on the outing. Seems unfair to me for everyone to lose out because of other peoples actions.....

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

You said, to clarify, that "not every outing has been cancelled, just the days where shes been "bad" ". Does that mean that it is always the same child that is the problem? Is it usually the oldest, or do they all do this to some degree?

I wouldn't suggest necessarily cancelling the outing. But, your 8 yr old is old enough to have a slight delay before receiving the discipline. For example, you are having lunch before going to the amusement park for 4 hours in the afternoon. Your 8 yr old is misbehaving, but you can't make her stay home while you take the other kids. What to do? Take them all and continue with your day, but FIRST, tell your eldest that WHEN SHE GETS HOME she will ___________. If you make her do extra chores, or whatever... just do it when you get home instead of before. Frankly, that will take a little wind out of her sails after the first time. When I get home (and our kids!) from a big outing, I just want to veg. Kids do too. She won't get that privilege...she'll be working off her misbehavior... vacuuming, laundry, scrubbing toilets, whatever. AND you'll have the added "benefit" of her having it hanging over her head the whole day so she'll have plenty of time to think about what is coming. Often, the dreaded waiting for what is coming is worse than the actual punishment. She might not notice so much the first time, but afterwards, it will have a much bigger impact.

Just an idea.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My daughter LOVES her babysitter - this would not be a consequence for her. And I only have 1, so I can use the 'others' for peer pressure, but then people think I'm crazy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My question ..... does the bad behavior directly relate to the event? You said no.... so then you are parenting with punishment instead of consequences.

Second - if as a child I had been held responsible and made to suffer because of my siblings behavior, I would have flipped out. That is totally not fair and will breed resentment between your kids.

I would say the bad behavior either needs 1) a natural consequence or 2) the child needs to be involved in doing something so they are not bored and have time to act bad.

How is your oldest misbehaving? The consequence should be directly related to the consequence and should affect ONLY her. Not you. Not the other kids. just her. Without examples, I can't give you solutions for specific behavior.
But the other thing is get your oldest involved in something, it's tough to be 8 and 'stuck' with babies all day. Can she volunteer at women's shelter, food bank, summer camp, reading to younger kids at summer school whatever...... it will take up her time and energy.

Good Luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

wow! I was wondering the same thing! I stay home with my kids so if my husband punished them I tell him he punishes me too! We too have fun stuff planned & the way my 2 boys have been behaving makes me think twice about the activities but I look forward to the challenge. Weather at home or doing fun things we still have to parent so I think do family things as a family. Only because they misbehave doesn't mean they arnt part of the family anymore. I would feel horrible leaving them with a sitter so I usually deal with it & if they are bad on trip then we just limit what they can do. Good luck

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Hmmm...what are the bad behaviors? I mean, how bad are they? Even on days when my kids are driving me up the wall, I know they are better behaved than a lot of other kids their ages. Mine are 8 (girl), 6 (boy), and 4 (boy). They DEFINITELY have their moments. I try to get on their level and explain to them the punishment for NOT behaving. And we still go on the outings, but the offender doesn't get all of the fun of it. When my kids can explain to me what they did wrong and apologize, we normally go about our day. They are kids...they're going to mess up. But 8 is a fun age, isnt it? Ugh! My daughter is really good most of the time and knows when she messes up, but she rarely needs punished. And God bless you for having 4 girls!! I always wanted 2 girls but that didn't work out for us and I am honestly not sure I could take two of them, let alone 4!! We are a lot of work :).

1 mom found this helpful
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