21 Legendary Punishments

I admit it. I’m a wimp when it comes to doling out punishments. I don’t want to take away the big moments, like the sleepovers or the the birthday parties, and I don’t want to threaten anything that might ruin my day too.

I tend to stick to small livable punishments like “no dessert” or taking away Mazzy’s American Girl Doll for a night, which they seem to be pretty devastated by… But then sometimes I think, maybe if I actually hauled them out of a restaurant in the middle of the meal one time, they’d be a lot better behaved in restaurants now?

Last week, I asked people on the Mommy Shorts facebook page to tell me the harshest parenting ultimatum they ever followed through on. Or… the biggest threat they remember their parents following through on when they were kids. I wanted to hear the stuff family legends are made of.

You guys didn’t disappoint.

21 Legendary Punishments that Kids Couldn’t Forget If They Tried

1) The Not-So-Great Adventure

“My dad actually turned the car around on the way to Great Adventure when we were kids. This, after we drove from LI to NJ and could almost see the roller coasters. Lesson learned!” – Diane

2) No More Bouncy Ball For You

“The kids were fighting over a bouncy ball in the car on the way home from school. I warned them that if they didn’t figure out a way to share it, then neither of them would get it. When my four year-old exclaimed once again that the ball was HIS and he would NOT be sharing it, I pulled the car over, walked back to his door, peeled the ball out of his hand and threw it as hard as I could into a nearby yard. I got back into the car without a word and kept driving. Felt amazing.” – Saushan

3) The Opposite of Screen Time

“I was taking the kids to the park and they started fighting. After I told them to “knock it off” three times, I said if they didn’t knock it off, I would turn the car around, go home and then sit and stare at a blank TV for two hours. My oldest punched his sister. I turned the car around, we went home, and we stared at that blank TV screen for two hours. Just like I said we would.”  –Scarlett

4) Someone else will appreciate these toys

“I took all (and I mean ALL) my daughters’ toys and donated them to Goodwill. I had always just bagged them up, but they knew the bags would just go in my room and they would eventually get everything back. Nope. Not this time. They learned to keep toys off the floor after that.” – Angela

5) The abandoned bus stop

“I used to tell my kids that the people waiting for the bus on the side of the road were left there by their parents because they couldn’t behave in the car. They never tested me after that!” – Elizabeth

6) The Long Walk Home

“I put my sons (ages 4 and 6) out of the car and made them walk behind the minivan (on the sidewalk) until we got home (about a quarter of a mile) because they would not stop acting like wild animals in the car (arguing, screaming, etc). It never happened again. I could just pull over and they’d stop immediately.” – Patti

7) The Empty Room

“My kids refused to clean the play room, so I took everything out while they were sleeping. When they woke up, they had an empty room with empty shelves. But it totally backfired. They thanked me for cleaning and then played in the empty room with their blankies. It was about 6 months before they even asked about the stuff I had taken away!” – Allison

8) The Butt Naked Runaway

“I once told my mom, in the midst of a giant fight, that I was going to run away. She told me that was fine, but if I wanted to leave I had to leave her world exactly the same way I came in….butt naked. When she demanded I take off my clothes and go outside….I sluggishly made my way right back to my room…fully clothed.” – Sarah

9) The Canceled Birthday Party

“We canceled my son’s birthday one year when he was caught stealing from school. He got some clothes we had already bought but that’s it. No party and no toys.” – Lisa

10) Worse than the Canceled Birthday Party

“Instead of canceling my party, my mom moved it outside our house and I was not invited. I got to sit inside by the glass door, watching my friends play and eat my cake. All the presents went back to my friends too.” – Valerie

11) Family Cottage Denial

“My kids had been invited to spend the night at the family cottage with one of my aunts and some cousins. I had packed everything up in the car to take them and we were on our way out the door when they started behaving badly. I warned them repeatedly to stop back talking but they did not. The last warning had included the threat of “if you don’t stop, you are not going” and I had to follow through. It was meltdown city but at 7 and 5 years old they were definitely able to grasp the concept of consequences. Needless to say, they were much better behaved after that and were able to go the next day with much corrected attitudes.” – Carinn

12) Scrapping the Sleepover

“Just last night, I cancelled my 8 year-old’s birthday sleepover. I felt bad, especially because I knew her friends would be disappointed and I knew I was possibly changing their parents plans for the evening. But I had given my daughter several warnings that if she didn’t stop being sassy and rude, I would cancel it. I finally stopped giving the warnings and just sent out the message to the other parents.” – Anne

13) Disney World Denial

“My daughter was kicking the back of my chair really hard on the way to Disney World. I told her 100X to stop. Even took her shoes. I told her if she kicked my chair one more time, we were turning the car around. My husband looked at me like, “Why did you say that???” because he thought I would never follow through. She gave me one last grand kick and we turned the car around. We had even made it to the parking lot and were meeting friends there. I texted them that we weren’t going in. I get mad just thinking about it.” – Caroline

14) Dishes for a Year

“I got in some trouble in High School and my mom, who didn’t believe in grounding, made me do dishes every night for a year. I could still do anything I wanted, as long as I was home every night to do the dishes.” – Justine

15) Wearing Pajamas  to School

“I was tired of having to yell at my daughter to get ready for school. One day, after several warnings, I made her go downstairs (a bit early, but she didn’t realize it), put on her shoes and jacket while she was still in her pajamas. She was so upset, begging to be allowed to go back upstairs to get dressed. I gave her a “final chance” (since it was still technically earlier than she had to leave) and she ran up and got dressed in record time. I haven’t had to yell at her over it since.” – Melissa

16) No blue eye shadow for you!

“When I was in high school, my mom took away all my makeup for one month. Every last mascara, tacky eye shadow, lip gloss, EVERYTHING. For a 15 year old girl, it was pretty devastating.” – Amy


“During a hitting phase at age 3, I made a rule that if my daughter hit anyone, we would leave immediately. We went to a birthday party where she and another child had a disagreement, and my daughter hit her. So, we left. As we were leaving, the ponies dressed as Unicorns showed up. Yes, we still left, but those horsicorns upped the consequence to a crazy and unexpected level. (And yes, the birthday party was at a mansion and over the top. I mean UNICORNS!). I just kept telling myself to stay strong. She no longer hits.” – Carrie

18) No Christmas

My mom told me one year, if I didn’t clean my room I couldn’t have a Christmas. And I didn’t. I couldn’t go to Christmas Eve Service at church and I was allowed to open my presents on Christmas morning but I couldn’t take them out of the box or play with them. When the present opening was over, I had to go up to my room until it was clean. I just lay on my bed crying because I could hear my brother running around downstairs playing with all his new toys. By the time my mom brought up my breakfast, my room was clean.” – Nelly

19) Sesame Sorrow

“I was taking the kids to Sesame Place with two friends and their kids. My 5 year-old was behaving badly and I threatened to leave him behind. He actually called my bluff and said, ‘You will still take me, you always do.’ It broke my heart on the inside, but I dropped him off at daycare and went with my 3 year-old.”  – Erin

20) Barbie Suicide

“My mom told my sisters that if they didn’t put their Barbie stuff away, she was throwing it all out the window. I clearly remember being 5 years-old and watching her chuck it ALL out the 2nd floor window of our house. My sisters were outside playing and heard all their stuff crashing down.” – Susan

21) The Biggest Lesson of All

“We were in the parking lot of Schlitterbahun (a giant waterpark 2+ hour from hom on the hottest day in Texas) when I smarted off that *one* last time and my parents turned around the car and drove right back home! I don’t know what was worse, being upset that we weren’t going or my mom’s disappointment/wrath because SHE really wanted to go! I knew my mom meant business after that. And, it was a really good lesson for me now that I’m a parent too. Sometimes it’s gotta hurt you too!” – Alyssa

What big parenting ultimatum have you followed through on?

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