Proper Punishment

Updated on April 06, 2007
A.R. asks from Westerville, OH
12 answers

My 9- and 7-year old sons broke an expensive glass candle holder of on display in a room where they have been told REPEATEDLY not to play. I was in the shower and they played in there anyway and broke it. They immediatlely came to my room to 'fess up', saying they were sorry and 'wanted to be honest about it'. The replacement value of this item is almost $200, and I probably won't replace it, it was just decoration, no sentimental value or anything. My question is this: what do you recommend as punishment for this 'crime'? Thanks!

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answers from Cincinnati on

My mom would put a price on household task that needed to be done...each pair of socks that were matched were 10 cents, dishes were $2 (load and unload the diswasher), taking out the trash $2 (included replacing the bag), and when we broke things or wanted extra money to go out or buy something we had to earn it. If they have household jobs already, say that they have to do extra ones each day until they work off the amount. If they don't already have household jobs then they have to do them until they work off the amount. Teaches a lesson in money and in breaking things.

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answers from Columbus on

Honesty is a big deal in our house. If it was my son, I would praise him on being honest, explain that is why you tell them not to play in there, and make them work off (things they don't normally do for chores) the value to pay you back. But I wouldn't ground them or anything like - since they did come right to you. Good luck.

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answers from Toledo on

I definitely agree with Meghan. You did an amazing job raising your kids so far if they know that it is better to tell the truth then to lie or hide it. When working out their punishment I would mention this to them by saying something like "I'm glad that you came and told me what happened and that you were sorry. However it did still get broke SO..." As for the punishment itself I think that making long lasting chores or permanently cutting allounance may not be a good idea because they shouldn't have to feel forever in debt and chances are it will loose it's effect after a week or two. I would recommend something more short term and a one time thing rather than long term. They did confess so I would keep it more laxed ...and remember to tell them that is why the punishment is not that bad.



answers from Columbus on

As I read the other postings... I agree in that the boys should be recognized for their honesty but, also made to earn the money to replace it. Extra chores are good but, $5.00 for making the bed is too much! In our house making the bed is just their responsibility... their room, their mess... type thing. Chores to us means helping mom out with laundry, cooking, cleaning... things they don't normally do. And I wouldn't worry about making it short term.... this is their consequence and as long as it takes them to earn it is the punishment! They are old enough in my opinion to understand it all and focus on what needs to happen next! Good luck!



answers from Mansfield on

Sorry to hear about such a expensive idem being broke. You do hv ur hands full working ft and 3 kids. Personal i think they r 2 old to of went in there. I would break down on them every time they even went to sit in the room. You hv to hv ur own space as a person and mom. I would make it so clear its not ur room to enter. Then give them there space in the house or point out where it is already. We had 7 kids growing up and nothing of mothers was broke. True but we had strong set rules with punishment that always followed. So maybe more "always"??Good luck.



answers from Columbus on

I agree with most of the other mom's. The boys need to be commended for thier honesty. If the punishment is too harsh, they may NOT come and tell you next time something happens. I think that having them do jobs that they don't normally do to "pay it off" is a good idea. Another idea is that you could sit down with the boys and ask them what they think their punishment should be, take note of what they say, and then come up with a punishment. This will help the boys "own" what they did and to better accept the punishment. Just a thought. Good luck and good job on raising such honest sons.



answers from Dayton on

i have a ten year old son who likes to do something wrong and hide it, it is nice that your children came to you and told you what they did but because you have asked them not to play in that room i think that maybe the best thing to do is to take something of theirs that they just can't live without like if they have a tv in their room or video games my son hates when i do this to him and it works quite well



answers from Columbus on

Hi A.,

It sounds like you are doing a super job with your boys to have them come and immediately admit what they did. My adivise is have them work off the value of the vase. Give them jobs that you would normally have to do so it is more personal. They keep the chores that they normally have along with what they do you YOU. I think this will bring homr the point that this was something of yours that they broke and you don't play in their rooms and break their things. I hope this helps.




answers from Cleveland on

I would like to say first of all you must be doing a great job raising them if they we honested enough to come and tell you what they did.
Although I do not agree with everyone about having them make their beds or cleaning their rooms for paying you back . Doing jobs around the home this should be a respondsibity they they should be doing already on there own.
maybe having them help out with jobs that are normally not done by, them would be better like cleaning the yard or maybe cleaning the car out or odd jobs that they don't normally do. Great Job MOM keep up the good work.



answers from Lima on

I would have them work to pay for it since they have been told numerous times not to play in there. They was honest and up front about it so that is a great thing. If they get allowance I would keep all of it from both of them until it is paid for, no matter if you replace it or not, they knew that the room was off limits for play. I think this would teach them a good value, just like in the stores you break it, you buy it.




answers from Youngstown on

I do agree with the other mom, that they were honest. To me, that should be commended. In my house I praise my children for honestly, that is something I try to emphasize. Even if they did something bad, I want them to be honest about what has happened and take responsibility for what they have done. Which your children did both.. to me that stands to be praised. But with responsibility means thier are sometimes consequences for our actions, which I do tell my children as well. I do not think grounding is appropriate, but I do beleive like the other mom.. since they both did it, they should split the cost of the expense which would be 100.00 each. You could get a poster board with chores on them, and a value at the cost they are worth... Making thier bed 5.00, picking up living room 5.00 ect.. as they accomplish the task, you could mark the item and tell them, so far you have paid this amount back.. This will also help teach them the value of money. They will better understand how hard you work to be able to get the things that you have. They will know at the end how hard they had to work to pay back what they broke. Good luck to you and let us know what you decide.



answers from Columbus on


I wouldn't be too harsh on them. If they had lied about it, that's a different story, but I have to say, you have done an amazing job raising your kids! The fact that they felt comfortable enoug to come and tell you speaks volumes about them, esp. given how young they are. That is truly a rarity thesedays!! If I were in your shoes, I would tell them that I appreciate their honesty, but, they did break a rule and tell them (if they don't already know) how expensive the item was and how hard you had to work to get it. Then, give them some extra chores so they feel they are paying back the amount you spent, or, if they get an allowance, have them give back the money to you. Of course, they won't be able to pay back $200.00, but it'll teach them the value of a dollar and also show there are consequences for breaking rules. Just don't punish them for their honesty, or be too harsh because it may make them not want to be honest next time.

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