Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Serving time...punishment

Notice anything different about this picture:

Besides the fact that it's blurry, it is Bojan doing his chore.  No big deal, right?  Look closer.  He is not standing up on two legs.  Why?  Because he got the other leg confiscated.  Why?  Because I got tired of the boys trashing this house and not caring where they leave stuff.  

Let me start from the beginning so it makes more sense.  We as a family, are sick and tired of the boys trashing the house and thinking it is okay to live like a pig. It's not.  So, one night, I only took a small portion of the house to pick up.  Just the upstairs hallway and the boys' bathroom.  You literally could not see the floor.  Dead serious.  Health department would have issued a citation, no doubt.  So, Yana(hey, she volunteered) scooped up anything on the ground and put it in a garbage bag.  We had three garbage bags FULL of stuff.  Including Bojan's leg left in the middle of the hallway.

Next morning, I dumped all three bags in the living room floor.  Divided them into piles of who they belonged to.  Made a separate pile for all the "not mine's" I got.  Told them all every item was a quarter.  If they did not have the cash, they could earn it back by a $1 an hour.  Now, Alex had $6 bucks worth of stuff.  In fact, most boys had $6 to $7 worth of stuff.  I told them next time they did this, I would charge .50 an item.  

Alex learned his lesson quickly.  Every night since, he said I'm not getting in trouble again.  It's too much work!  I'm kind of following Nik as explaining it all is a little more complicated.  Now, Bojan and Max, still a mess.  Tonight, I'll be scooping up the floors again for sure.  This time, .50 an item and being real hard on it.  I am determined to end this habit.  I know a mess will happen, especially here.  However, theirs goes beyond a mess.  It truly does.  It's frankly embarrassing.  The boys are like rats dropping stuff as they walk.  where it lands is where it lands.  

So, this is to be our lesson of the summer.  To keep our things relatively picked up.  Again, a little mess, fine.  But they had an explosion of mess where you couldn't even see the floor.  That's just insane.  So far, half success with this process.  We'll see in the next week how it goes.  What got me was I was going to give Bojan back his leg but he kept being a smart mouth about it all.  I said "How's it feel to crawl around?"  He said " I don't care."  URGHH!!!  Bojan was not getting the point of it all.  Just was trying to one up me the whole time.  yes, he got his leg back.  I told him next time though, I wasn't going to be so nice.  Told him had there been a fire, someone could have really gotten hurt by tripping over his leg in the middle of the hall.  

I feel confident the boys will eventually learn a lesson. It will however, take more than one time doing this.  Though Alex & Nik I think seem to have gotten it.  The two that I honestly didn't think would.  I think Max and Bojan are too deep into the lazy teen mentality that they don't think I"m serious.  BTW, when you see my boys wearing the same outfit for a few days, ask them why.  Maybe they'll fess up.  All I know is we are not going back to the old ways.  DOn't care how long this lesson takes, it will be worth it.  The loft area & hallway have remained clean.  Next focus...their room.  Anyone else out there have to take drastic measures w/ their kids?  I've heard of parents removing all possessions but a mattress.  Would love to do that but we have nowhere else to put the items. Thought this was a great alternative.  Thought I'd share and get ideas from others w/ what they've done.  And, this is only the boys.  Girls,I don't have an issue w/.  Used to be Alyona but she doesn't do it any more.  One day, I hope to say that about the boys.  Time will tell. 


  1. I tell them to clean up and if they don't the trash bag comes out. Once it goes in the trash bag it stays there for at least a month. This works for toys and and other junk. If they aren't asking for it is therefore can be thrown away. For clothes they aren't bad with after they ran out of clothes a few times. Now they sort their laundry in the hallway for me when they are running low on clothes. I will wash and dry the clothes, but they are to fold them and put them away. Piling them up on side of the bed isn't acceptable. There have been times that my oldest has been folding laundry while his friends came over to play.

    They also have to keep their bathroom clean or no one is allowed to come over to play. A few weekends ago, my oldest had a sleep over and his was to clean the bathroom prior. His friend showed up early and I was yelling at him if it wasn't clean in 10 minutes to call his friend and the sleep over was off. I didn't realize the friend and dad was at my door. I answered the door totally aggravated and the father who is a local cop tells me that such and such code says corpal punishment is allowed and he reminds his kids of that. Not that I would do that, but I was mortified that he saw how aggravated I was.

    My problem is the wrapper of items. For instance ice pops. I get sick and tired of seeing ice pop wrappers/sticks all around the house. So I won't buy ice pops for a couple of weeks. Crayons don't get replaced if the dog eats them and they get to clean up the color dog poop.

  2. We ransomed items back as well. They were required to buy back what we considered necessary (e.g., clothes, schoolbooks) before buying back fun stuff. We've also held fun stuff back long periods of time.

    Still haven't tamed the wrappers issue and my youngest is 16. They still leave dishes out around the house too. Oldest is 23 and honestly, just sometime in the last 2 years he got neater - at least keeps his mess confined to his room and not all over the house.

    We've also done daily inspections and not allowed TV or fun activities until things were cleaned up.

    Something I recently figured out with my 16yo - I think "clean up" is intimidating to him. I started asking him on a scale of 1-5, where he thought his room was, then had him do some clean up, asked again. When we were reasonably close on definition, I started asking him to clean his room to a "3" or a "4" so he'd know I didn't expect perfection, but so he had an idea of how much to do. It has helped surprisingly!