Our New Discipline System That Works!

Basic training is over.  Parenting 101 has been taught, reviewed and painstakingly replayed over and over again to finally land in this new glorious game of discipline.  My children have been in ‘ training camp’ for seven-ten years, depending on the child- and they are adjusted, prepared, and educated enough to embark in this brave new world.  I have finally reached the pinnacle of parenting in this phase of fundamental survival.  They are beyond the potty training days of sticker charts and rewards for ‘good behavior’.  They can wipe their own butts (good Lord, that is finally over- with the exception of some nasty smeared messes that scream for wet wipes and the fine motor dexterity of an adult).  It’s time people.  It’s time…

Instead of rewarding them with Popsicle flavored treats and puffy colorful stickers for every time they do something that is already EXPECTED of them- they will get with loving praise:

The ability to live in this house.

In place of the “YAY for you sweetie!!  You brushed your teeth and got dressed this morning!!!”

They will get, “Here is your breakfast.  You know what to do next.”

You see, there comes a time in a child’s life where I believe they need no reinforcement for those things that are expected of them on a daily basis.

But here’s the catch.

No matter what I have done to instill these small but COUNTLESS tasks into their day, they constantly need reminders!

What mother doesn’t complain of REPEATING herself to the point of a breakdown every STINKIN’ DAY of their lives.  Every day.

Every day, people.

Every day.

Yes… exhausting, enraging, slowly festering insanity that bubbles in the best of us.

Constant.  Reminders.  Every.  Day.

“Did you put the papers where they belong?”

“Did you put your laundry away?”

“Did you do your chore?”

“Did you brush your teeth?”

“Did you clear your plate?”

“Did you hear what I said?”

“Did you put that away like I asked?”

“Where does your backpack go?”

“REALLY?  Do I need to remind you about this FOUR TIMES in ONE day??”

Oh, I could go on and on and on and on….

As every mother could.


I am tired of eventually losing my marbles on them for the ‘little things’ that they forget to do.  I am tired of them not listening to me when I give them instructions.  I refuse to allow them to disobey or disrespect me- ever.

So I came up with a new plan.  A new way of life around here.  This relinquishes me from any reminders, yelling, erupting frazzled nerves that eventually collapse in tears of a distraught and exhausted mom.

This discipline program is very basic and simple.  Always how I like it.  Easy to manage and maintain.  Another must for us busy mamas.  I sat my kids down to explain…

“Here’s the deal chickatee choos.  You are officially in-house emancipated from your mother.”

“What does emanchigayted mean?”

“Emancipated!  Independent!  Meaning- I will not remind you of anything ANYTHING anymore.  I will not yell, and repeat things four HUNDRED times anymore.  I will not- I repeat NOT get to the point when I am staring at you with those glaring eyes and my blood racing to my red face ready to scream ‘Do you NOT get it???’  No no no, dear loves.  This mama is done.”


“You have been trained well, soldiers.  You are officially declared on your own.”

“Where will we go?  Are you kicking us out?”  (The drama starts to spiral with bursting tears from the hormonal tween.)

“Seriously? Right now I would seriously like to do just that.  Now.  Pull. It. Together.”


“You will never be kicked out of this home until you are 18.  And then, my foot will gladly meet your smelly butt to propel you into this world.  (Kids giggle- “Smelly butt!!!”) BUT- LISTEN TO ME! (They freeze.)  For now, I am teaching you how to live in this world successfully, and by doing so- I actually pray it works.”

“Mom can we go now?”

“Oh ye little ones.  This party has just begun…

Here’s how it’s gonna go down:

I have put your names on this paper and will have it on the fridge for you to see anytime.

You have a total of 15 points you are allotted throughout the week for ‘mistakes’.  There is grace in this house- always.  You literally are allowed TWO mistakes on things that should be as natural to you as eating and sleeping.  There surely is enough grace here.

WHEN you do not follow through on ANYTHING that is expected of you, you will be given a point.  I will mark it on the paper, and gladly inform you of said point.

That means- you will be doing everything EVERYTHING you have been trained to do, without WITHOUT me reminding you of anything ANYTHING.  I will simply be giving you a point. If you reach 15 points, there will be the consequence of grounding and early bedtime for Sunday.

Get it?”  (They currently HATE to be in their rooms and go to bed early- this is what works now.  That can change- it always does.)

“Like what?  What do you mean? What are things are we supposed to do?”

“Picking up after yourself.  Turning off the tv when you leave the room.  Clearing your plate.  Doing your homework.  Putting your papers in the right place. Hanging your towels after your showers.  Keeping your rooms clean.  Putting your laundry away.  Washing your hands after school.  Picking up after yourself.  Being RESPECTFUL always to me, your father, and to each other.  Getting dressed in the morning.  Brushing your teeth.  Doing your chores.  ETC.  All of the things you are able to do without the help or reminder from ME.”


“So what if we don’t get ANY POINTS!!!  Can we get a prize?  A toy?  Something???”

“Aw, of course sweeties!!!  You will get the greatest gift of all!!!  You will get the honor of being a Carter and living in the Carter house!  You will get fed, and cared for each day you carry out your responsibilities!!  LUCKY you!!”

“Oh brother… come on mom!!!!  Something??”

“If you go all week without ONE point, I will buy you ice cream.”

“YAY!!!!  I can’t WAIT!!!!”

“Good luck children.  Good.  Luck.”

And so I implemented this new system a few months ago.  Each week I put up a fresh piece of paper with their names on it and grab my markers ready to give out the points.  No yelling.  No reminding. No fretting.  No exhausted and pissed off mama.  And, It WORKS!!  I am thrilled with the outcome of this simple and effortless idea!!!

Our New Discipline System When my kids forget something- or do anything that is unacceptable- I simply say, “There’s a point.”  I walk over to the fridge and take the marker and give them a point.

They absolutely HATE to get a point.

My kids have risen to the call.  They are rarely dependent on me for these daily tasks.  I don’t tell them to do anything.  I simply say- “You just earned yourself a point.”  And they immediately panic and desperately try to remember what they missed.  It pretty much always comes to them.  And they go fix it.  And I am left with little yelling and reminding over and over again.

Oh it’s still frustrating- because they are getting points left and right.  But at least I have this ‘tool’ to manage them and teach them the ‘art of responsibility’ and ‘self-motivation’.

So far, they have both hit 15 on numerous occasions, and take their consequence with fair tolerance.  Cassidy has of course, done the math and realized that if she can only make two mistakes a day, she is safe.  But that is tough for those days when she can collect five points in one interaction that isn’t “pleasant”.  Ouch.

And Lord knows if they will ever earn the ice cream.  I threw that one in for good measure.  I wasn’t going to, but then I thought being ‘perfect’ is hard to come by… I suppose my giving in to that idea will be the dream that never dies for my little irresponsible cherubs.  But, why not give them something to reach for after all.

They watch their points closely.  They are proud of themselves when they have few.  They push themselves to be more intentional when they have too many, for fear of hitting 15.

It’s a beautiful thing when something works well.  I will embrace it until it doesn’t. 

In time… always in time.

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    • says

      Heck YES you can borrow this!! That’s why I shared it!! I am SO with you on the ADD!!! I can barely manage to keep any ‘system’ going in this house, so THIS is DOABLE!!!

      Try it!!!

  1. Amy-Lee Steele says

    I love this and I am going to try this with my 3 now. Thanks for the idea and the giggles reading it. 🙂

    • says

      TRY IT!! It totally works!!! I think what I love about it the most is that it nourishes their “self drive”…

      I’m so glad you got a few giggles out of this post!! I still chuckle about some of it! 😉

  2. says

    Great Post — good for you Mom! I did something similar when my kids were home but not as sophisticated as yours. Bottom line….you are teaching them responsibility and accountability for their actions (or lack thereof). I am proud to say, in the end, it REALLY does work and you will be proud. Keep us posted!

  3. says

    SSSF, I wonder if this system would work in an only child home, hmmmm, we must implement & try beginning Sunday (I’m not a start mid-week gal…lol) WTG, LOVEY! XO

  4. says

    Love it and seriously need to try something like this with my girls as they are getting older. the worst offense here is they make a huge mess with their toys daily that they don’t want to clean up and have to be told a dozen times at least to do. When they finally do, I always find myself having to initiate it. So thanks for the thought here and the ice cream definitely is a nice touch, too! 🙂

    • says

      Oh yes- many times I have reminded my kids to clean up after themselves!! It’s so nice when they finally GET IT- even if they whine about it from time to time!!

      They know- if they don’t clean up ‘as they go’- there will be consequences. And ya know what? They actually are become naturals at it after all the years of me ingraining it in them!

      Have hope, mama!! 😉

  5. says

    This is great! I think I might steal this, Chris. I am constantly repeating myself and it’s always the same stuff that I’m asking them to do. Yelling and timeouts just don’t work. I’m going to start this tonight!

    • says

      I love SO much about this system- mainly that it empowers the kids to have inner self drive. It’s not about us telling them anymore, it’s about us watching them and documenting their behavior- as they make their own choices through out the day-

      Let me know how it goes with your boys, okay? YAY!

    • says

      Seriously- SAVE this system for when they are a bit older!! It WORKS!! And you are too kind… not sure about ‘those traits’ but I’ll take your love ANY DAY!! 🙂 MWUAH!!!

  6. says

    What a great idea!

    I’d suggest it for my household, but my wife would add my name to the list and my points for putting my shirts on the chairs downstairs instead of upstairs, or for my shoes in the middle of the living room, etc. would add up too quickly.

    • says

      I was SO excited to see that you were going to share it, Lori!! How did it go?

      I tell ya- IT. WORKS.

      Cade currently is at 13 points… not looking good for the little guy! Teaching him all about self control ‘this week’. (He can’t whine and argue or talk back to me, or punch his sister because he’s mad!!) Poor guy has had a rough one!!

      Amazing the possibilities in this system!

    • says

      It takes the pressure off of the parent, and puts it on the kid. Exactly in the right place!! I am loving how my kids have to own their behavior, and accept the consequence of their lack of responsibilities… it’s much like the ‘real world’ isn’t it?

      Good. It should be!

    • says

      i seriously bet you could tweak it to work!!! Just different point system and consequences!! I could see me doing it when my kiddos are teens…. different expectations- but they must be met none the less!! Why not?

  7. says

    Love it. My daughter is only four but man, she does not listen the first time. Listen the first time, kid! She even made a wish on a star the other night that we would get her a cat named Dinah, and the cat would listen the first time.
    So if she has high standards for her imaginary cat, why doesn’t she have them for herself?

  8. says

    That’s a great idea! I might have to try it with my kids – though I have one in particular who I fear would hit the 15 mark within 48 hours. Mine have a playroom that drives me crazy because they destroy it and getting them to clean it up is WWIII. I finally told them this weekend that the playroom is now off limits until they clean it. They may not go in it (unless they decide to clean) and they may not get ANY of the toys/stuff out of it until it is cleaned up to my satisfaction. I thought I was genius. It’s been three days and they haven’t seemed to miss it at all. 🙁 Makes me want to just clean the room out completely and give it all away!

    • says

      HA! That is SO hilariously classic motherhood right there! It just figures…

      Maybe if they see you hauling out all their toys to the garbage they might feel motivated! 😉

  9. says

    A genius idea! I still have to remind my 14 year old to brush his teeth but it’s getting much better.
    I’m glad you’re sticking with it. When my kids were younger, I could never stick to it because I feel bad for them when they cry, lol

    • says

      Yeah- oh have I been there Manal!! I have to hold on to everything I have to not NOT give in!! I have that same weakness too!!!

      I bet your teen could be ‘inspired’ by a similar system, tweaked with higher expectations and consequences… Lord knows I already see me doing this when my kids are teens!!

  10. says

    I love this!!!
    I’m like you – those little things that are part of daily life are not my responsibility anymore (I did that part for years!!!) – just like I don’t pay for doing simple chores and no set chore belongs to a single individual because we are a family and all need to pitch in!!
    For 5 years I worked in the office at my boys elementary school and even then they knew – if they left something at home it pretty much sucked to be them because it wasn’t my job.
    They rarely forget stuff now – Jordan did once this year (9th grade) and there was a pretty big consequence at school – I just let it happen because it was not my responsibility!!!

    • says

      Kim- you and I are parenting SOUL MATES!!!!!!! YES YES YES to all of that!!! I LOVE that we are so much alike in our parenting!! (Not surprised really!)

      Amen to self drive and responsibility and natural consequences…

      They WILL be prepared for this world after all… 😉

  11. says

    I love this idea! This might work over here. Don’t laugh but I used to use noodles. They’d get a certain number of noodles in the morning and the object was to keep that same amount. They could lose them but then they’d have to do extra to earn them back which wasn’t easy. It worked until the noodles became a weapon with each other (everything always ends up as a weapon of sorts).

  12. says

    I Like the notion that these things are expected. Not rewarded. Brushing teeth. Cleaning up. Homework. And they should be expected. Like you said, we are training them for the “real world.” I need a chart and need to start logging points. In this house, taking away the Wii for a weekend would equal the worst punishment ever. Thanks Chris!

    • says

      It IS all about preparing them for the real world, isn’t it?

      I love how this system empowers them to take on their own responsibilities with their own self-drive. THAT’S what I want them to develop and it naturally takes place with this!

    • says

      Seriously- it WORKS!!! I have to make myself shut up and not say a word… and that part is HARD!! But I know I am doing them a big favor teaching the ‘art of responsibility’ now… the real world is right in front of them, and they need to be prepared!

  13. says

    I thought I had tried everything but this is a new one. Pretty clever, Mom! I say anything that keeps you from losing your mind is worth a try. I just today told my kids that if they don’t do what I ask of them, then I don’t feel I should have to do what they ask of me. We’ve tried rewarding for chores, allowances, consequences….maybe a little golden rule will work. If not, I may try this idea!

    • says

      LOVE the golden rule!!! And I am no longer a fan of rewards…. the real world rarely gives them out, so I don’t want my kids expecting them.

      I want my kids to have the reward felt within them, when they accomplish their goals. Self drive- that’s my goal!!

  14. says

    Great idea! I might try this with my 9 year old. If I’ve asked him if he brushed his teeth once, I’ve asked in 10,000 times. Oh, and washing his hands after school. That is a MUST for me. Gotta get all those school germs off. 😉

    • says

      DO IT!!! It will teach him that self drive he needs to get along in this world… that’s MY goal for my kids. Not to do all these things for ME, but for THEM in order to feel that success in the accomplishment of their goals.

  15. says

    I love it! Yes, I just brought back the chore chart for The Boy so that he could keep track of his chores instead of having me remind him. A month filled with check marks on his means a mom-and-boy outing with a pizza pretzel at Barnes & Noble. It’s the little things, you know? 🙂

  16. says

    In our house both kids have binders. The first page is a list of 10 things I like about each of them. Next, page is a checklist of all the things they need to do in the morning (get dressed, make bed, put away pjs, eat breakfast, etc). For every check they earn a gold token (think pirate booty from Hobby Lobby – pack costs $3). The next page is their afternoon check list. (bring up the trash cans, set the table, etc) Each coin is worth 5 min. of electronics ( t.v., videogames, iPad, etc.) Kids may not turn in any coins until homework is completed. Noah likes to turn in coins all at once each day whereas Natalie likes to save them for the weekend. I don’t remind. They can do it or not do it but that translates to less electronics. We’ve been on this for several months. So far so good.

  17. says

    Oh my, where have I been girl! I’ve missed so many posts over here…sigh. I laughed sooo hard at this. It’s true, they’ll start taking responsibility when it starts to hurt them! Kudos to you girl! I know I got so tired of screaming at my kids when they were younger, until I made a drastic move, lol! Too funny though, it’s as if everything has come full circle, as I find myself screaming again…oh well, lol!

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