Kids will be kids, sometimes they'll do wonderful things that excite and amaze you, other times they'll be little hellions. Regardless of what we think of them, they always manage to get into trouble, and some parents get creative with punishments, while others get sadistic with them. These stories are of the most unusual punishments parents come up with for their children, comments lightly edited for clarity.
I Wanted To Say Goodbye
“My father would punch me in the temple if I talked back. I was also threatened with a kitchen knife by my mother and have been abandoned and forced to walk home from several places, like a friends house at midnight because I was on antibiotics at the time and needed to get home to take them.
The worst punishment I received was not being allowed to go to my friend’s wake after he had committed suicide because we were late and I had bothering my dad to drive me (didn’t have license yet and had just had my wisdom teeth taken out, couldn’t walk).”
“I spent Christmas when I was 8 years old with extended family and no members of my immediate family for reasons I can’t remember. My aunt got all of the cousins, myself included, Pokemon t-shirts. I was more of a Sailor Moon kinda girl, but I was raised to be polite, so I thanked her anyway and gave her a hug and kiss, and then moved on to the next present.
A few of the other cousins were extraordinary suck ups, and immediately put their shirts on over their clothes and said that I clearly didn’t like my present because I wasn’t wearing it. I said that yeah, I liked my present, I just didn’t want to stretch it out by putting it on over my clothes (a lie, but the best one I could come up with). My aunt said it was very thoughtful of me to keep my shirt nice.
My aunt’s husband, however, the evil uncle berated me in front of the entire family, many of whom I had just met, by calling me an ungrateful brat and then proceeded to give me a huge lecture about ‘respect’ (I’m pretty sure it was just crazy rambling) until I was crying and begging him to stop. I distinctly remember saying ‘I love my Auntie, I love her present! I just didn’t want to wear it right now, that’s all!’ and getting snot all over the shirt as I struggled to put it on, in tears, as quickly as possible so he’d stop screaming. Then he yelled at me for getting my the shirt dirty. The look of satisfaction on his face from making a child cry was probably the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen.”
Bye Bye Hamster
“My stepmom had all types of weird punishments. One time, she made me walk down to the end of the driveway with my shorts down at my ankles. The neighbors across the street were outside, and were staring at me as I did it. They never commented on it, thankfully.
Another one – my two female hamsters were constantly fighting in their cage (years later I learned you can’t have two hamsters together) and my stepmom was angry at hearing them fight. One day she grabbed the nicer, least-aggressive of the two, walked to the backyard, and flung the hamster off into the woods behind our house. The sight of that hamster just sailing off into the woods has stuck with me to this day.”
Burning Our Dreams
“For most of our childhood, my older brother and I were both Pokemon fanatics. Just about everything we did was Pokemon-related — gameboy games, plush toys, figurines, marbles, Pokedexes, you name it. But our parents didn’t buy it for us. No, just about everything came out of our own pockets.
One of my first moments of feeling proud of my brother was on my ninth birthday. Unbeknownst to me, he had cooked batch after batch of fudge and sold it door-to-door, at sports matches and at school to save enough to buy the Pokemon Crystal game. It was just about the best birthday present I had ever received; the gift’s value in my eyes was far more than its regular sale price as I understood how diligent and hardworking he had been in raising money to buy me it. It’s still a happy memory for me, unwrapping the gift box to see the one toy I had always wanted but could never afford.
Fast forward one year. Having repeatedly demolished the Elite Four with my trusty Typhlosion, I was gearing up to take on Red in the depths of Mount Silver. Then my parents came along and decided we were being dominated by the games. They were worried that we were developing serious addictions and that the ‘Japanese gods’ (just references to lore and mythical creatures really) were having a negative effect on us.
They burnt the toys. All of them.
We got back from school one afternoon to find a smoking bonfire in the garden, and all of our stuff gone. They had threatened to do it, but we never thought they were actually going to. After shouting and arguing, refusing to talk to our parents for a number of days, they promised to (at the least) replace the games with non-pokemon-related stuff. They never did.”
Lego My Things!
“When I was around 12, I spent three days constructing the Lego Boba Fett’s ship ‘Slave I’ with my neighbor. I was so proud of that thing. It was the longest time I had dedicated to a single Lego set. So, I put it on display in the living room for all to admire.
One hot summer afternoon, barely a week after I had completed my ship, I got in some stupid fight with my dad. In a fit of anger, he picked up my Lego set and launched Boba Fett (along with my childhood) towards the ground. Both smashed into countless pieces. I collected what I could in a plastic bag, but I could never dream of putting that set back together.
He immediately showed regret for his actions, so a week later he bought me the same set. But the damage was done, I lost my decade long love for Lego that hot summer afternoon. I still have that unopened boxed set somewhere, the box way too damaged to bother to sell as a collectible.
I kept it because someday, I hope I’ll want to construct that Lego set again.”
I Wanted To Learn
“This has been bothering me all of my life and I’ve never told anyone.
When I was in grade school they were starting to teach us how to play instruments. I was so excited, all I ever wanted to do was to learn to read music and play any/all the instruments I could. I started with the clarinet studied all the music I had at my disposal. Because my family never had any money I had to use the old used instruments that the school provided but you could only use them for so long before having to buy your own. Well I guess one day I acted out and my mother informed me that she would not be buying me a clarinet or any other (cheaper) instrument. Completely destroyed my musical dreams. I mean who does that to a kid? I didn’t want toys I wanted an educational experience. I wanted to learn music. Ground me, take away my toys, but don’t take away a child’s ability to learn.
It has always been a huge hole in my life so instead I took up dance and eventually joined the marching band just to be around it. I was in color guard and even became drum major (I couldn’t play but i could still read) I loved every minute of it and miss it every day. I will never forgive my mother. Ever.”
He Was A Miserable Person
“When I was younger, my mom worked evenings while my dad stayed home after working in the morning. My dad typically passed out on the couch after work and was not to be disturbed.
I remember I had gotten really thirsty one night. I was too little to open the fridge or scale the counters to get water (if that should give you an idea how old I was) so I gingerly asked my dad to get me something to drink.
Instead, he rolled off the couch, spanked me, and put me in a corner. After about 20 minutes, he fell back asleep so I left my corner and went into the kitchen to try and get water myself. I guess I made too much noise because my dad woke up, spanked me again, and put me back in the corner. After he fell asleep, I carefully moved a chair to the corner and grabbed a picture of my mom to cry to. I ended up falling asleep with my face against the wall and woke up to my mom freaking out over me while my parents screamed at each other.
And no, my father never drank. He was just a mean, miserable person.”
I Hope He Dies In A Gutter
“To get even with me for getting him in trouble with my mother, my stepfather used to put nails in my moped tires or water in the gas tank so I’d break down a few miles from home and have to walk. He would take my homework out of my notebooks when I was sleeping so I’d get in trouble for being unprepared in school the next day. He would intentionally ruin or break something of theirs so he could blame me and I’d get punished.
We were in constant competition for my mother’s attention. Only difference was…. I was a 9-year-old, he was a 30-year-old. This happened from age 9 until about 18 when I moved out. He never paid his bills, and we were constantly moving apartments because we were always getting evicted. I was in five high schools in four years because we moved so much. He even sold my Walkman, guitar, and other things, and blamed it on them being lost in the move. A day before Father’s Day one year, I think I was about 12 or 13, he busted into my room to tell me ‘I hope you didn’t get me a Father’s Day present because I’m not your father and I hate your guts. You hear me?’
My mother left him four years ago for cheating and being an abuser, but still sees him lets him on her medical insurance plan, and pays his bills. He’s got this unnatural hold on her. I can’t explain it. He’s been nothing but a con-man, and he’s been conning my family for over 35 years. I’m waiting until someone finds him dead in the gutter. Then I will feel the pleasure someone gets when they deface someone’s grave.”
Toy Story But Not Happy
“I was probably 10 or 11. My stepmother didn’t like how messy our rooms were, so she told us that we were to box up all of our belongings (toys, books, etc.) and they were going to be thrown away. We could keep one box. Those final boxes were the last ones she took to the dump.
My grandmother knew about this (I still don’t know how she found out) and she went and rescued some of the things for us. I’m in my 40s and I still think about the toys that got thrown out. Its like Toy Story, only without the happy ending I guess.”
Weeding Out Problems.
“When I was 12-ish, I gave my stepmother (who was a terrible person and refused to stop saying very wretched things about my mother) the finger and got grounded for three months. It took up nearly my entire summer vacation, including my birthday.
During the time I was grounded, I was to pull the yellow star thistle that was overgrown on most of our one-acre property. At the same time, the court mediator in my parents’ custody battle was requiring me to go to therapy, and the therapist told my father that he needed to spend a day of quality time with me. To fulfill this assignment, he spent one day pulling thistle with me. He did not speak to me the entire day.
It was not a good summer, but I don’t regret flipping that woman off at all. She was a terrible woman and had no right to say the terrible and vindictive things that she did.”
“My mother used to take these power trips and make things hellish for no reason. She’d throw out homework and items I purchased under the guise of ‘cleaning’ and would always insist that she had nothing to do with whatever was missing. I kept my room a horrible pig sty for years after that because if I kept it a disaster she’d stay out of it for a change.
When I started driving she once decided to take away a vehicle I was driving for no reason at all. She refused to tell me why (I paid gas and everything for it, was a good kid in school) and put it up for sale on the front lawn. I needed it to get back and forth from band, school and work. I then totally outraged her off by buying my own dang vehicle.
I didn’t date until well into my 20s due to an irrational fear of my mother being furious with me for doing so. I didn’t move out until my late 20s because she would guilt trip me into staying and then make my life miserable while I was there. She never supported my dreams because ‘you need money to do that and you’ll never have money’. When my dad was in the hospital all my mother would do is cry and play the victim. I had all sorts of people track me down at work to find out what was going on because my mother refused to answer the phone. She wouldn’t even go to the benefit dance that the community organized. I could go on.”
“My father was addicted to his bottle. Mean inebriated shell of a man. Used to come home hammered, looking to wail on someone. So I had to provoke him, so he wouldn’t go after my mother and little brother. Interesting nights were when he wore his rings.
He used to just put a belt, a stick, and a wrench on the kitchen table and say ‘Choose.’ Most people say they’d go with the belt there. I used to go for the wrench.
Why? Because I hated him so much, that’s why.”
“Mine’s not as bad, but I’ve been a self-injurer since I was 12 (I only recently went to treatment for it, I’m 30 now) and when my mom discovered my cuts and burns when I was 15 she reacted with extreme anger. She figured I was into narcotics and was a bad kid — even though I never did anything bad and did well in school. She stripped my room (which was important to me at the time, since I loved to decorate) of everything. She left me with a mattress on the floor. I had to ‘earn’ back my stuff. By doing what? She didn’t ever say. She also changed my clothing to make me look ‘preppy’ and more conservative – as though my clothes made me a depressed self-injurer. After months of this, I one day found a playing card with a Van Gogh painting on it. I liked it so I tacked it above my mattress. When she and my stepfather discovered it, they flew into a rage. I lost my music. There were no ipods back then or digital downloads, so they took all my cds. I never actually got any of my stuff back, though she allowed me to eventually redecorate a year later. My self-injury and depression grew much worse.
I got better at hiding it, is all she taught me. And I learned to keep my problems secretive or else someone would take away what I loved. Jump forward to being 30 and still doing it. I had trouble even telling my therapist and my family about a loving relationship I was in, because I feared they’d pressure me to end it because they’d somehow turn it into being bad for me. Oh, and my mom and stepdad did ban me from having dogs when I was in college unless I seemed like I was happy and doing well. I’m obsessed with dogs. In fact, while in out patient rehab for depression and self-injury I got a dog. I’m a dog trainer and had recently lost my dogs (longer story). When my stepdad and mom found out about that they threatened to stop paying for treatment unless I got rid of it. They also banned me from coming for Thanksgiving because I had gotten a dog. Keep in mind, I’m a 30 year old woman at this point. I eventually got my therapists to tell them to stop taking away things that made me happy to ‘fix’ my emotional problems. My mom sort-of apologized during a therapy session for punishing me for being depressed and self-harming. But it was pretty half-assed.”
I Was Seeing Red
“I have bipolar disorder, and have done since my early teens. Im medicated and whatnot nowadays, but when i was about 20, I assumed everyone got like i did and i was just useless because I couldn’t deal with it.
I end up dropping out of university because im either too unmotivated to go to lectures or I’m out spending all my money on impulse buys instead of bills (yay, mania) and end up in debt.
I move back home, get a job after nine months of feeling suicidal because I’m such a failure. Im paying nearly half my wages to my mum to help with bills and stuff.
One night she comes home hammered out of her mind, and I’m in the front room watching TV, and she rolls in and just starts screaming at me about how i never help out and always have to be asked to do housework (i work all day and her and her useless boyfriend don’t, and i still helped out when asked). And I mean scream. And hit me. And throw things at me.
I’m utterly baffled. She was the world to me. We’d gone through a lot of hard times together, and there was nobody I loved or cared for more.
She goes into a rant about how im a complete failure, how i’ve ruined her life since i was born by tying her down, how I’m such a failure because I dropped out of university and that she ‘has no son’. How I’ll never amount to anything.
By this stage we are at the top of the stairs and, for the third time in my life, I really lose my temper. Red mist. Total apocolypse.
When I come back to reality, I’m sitting in the local trading estate about a mile from my house covered in blood (my own it turns out) and my hands are in bits – broken fingers, dislocated knuckles, cuts and scratches everywhere.
I’m panicking by myself wondering what I’ve done, and rush home. My mother is passed out on the sofa in the front room, completely fine. I’d managed to not hit her. The house however… Fist holes through every door from my room to the front door, fist holes in the plasterboard walls and blood everywhere.
I moved out the same day, and when she called to apologize I told her to get out of my life and hung up on her. Haven’t spoken to her since.
End result: mum disowned me, several (ongoing) years of therapy where we eventually figure out that I’m bipolar, and the stress of ‘losing everything’ had triggered a severe manic phase (I had some rage issues to work through too).
She called me a few years afterwards and told me she did it to motivate me to get on with my life. I said nothing and hung up.
Im still too afraid to try going back to college or even take my driving test in case I fail, and i really haven’t achieved anything, so I guess she was right in a way.”
What Did You Do To Him?
“When I was 13ish my brother and I each got a rabbit. Mine was named Nivek and I dragged him and his little spiked collar around with me everywhere I went. School, the coffee shop, the underage club, all the cool places that I could show off my manly pet bunny.
I wasn’t such a great student so my mother gave me the ultimatum of ‘pass this class or give up the rabbit.’ Seems messed up but fair enough, though my angst soaked mind saw it as a challenge, and accepted.
As expected, I messed up and poof; no more Nivek! I was quite heartbroken as that was my fuzzy little death rock buddy! (bunnies are death rock as heck fyi.) I was so mad at my mom that I totally stopped doing all my chores and stuff, cause eff the man! Trash stacked up like 2 bags deep, there were dishes left in the sink, it was chaos! I showed her who was boss!
The next weekend we went to my grandparents house. They had a fantastic cabin in the mountains so spending time with them was always a good time; fishing, hiking, exploring, chasing the chickens around with the dogs, you know all the good stuff. I was still pretty down about having Nivek taken away, so this weekend I was just kinda moping around kicking rocks. Eventually evening time came around and after hanging out playing boardgames for a few we sat down to dinner. My grandmother’s cooking is what you would expect, yummy and all that goodness, comfort food all the way. We had a huge spread: trout my grandfather had caught that day, green beans, corn, rice, cornbread and stew. My god that stew was delicious! Meaty and chunky, with beans and potatoes, a little spicy, just awesome. As we were all ravenously inhaling it my uncle asks what is in it. The table falls silent and everyone looks away from me… everyone but my brother. He was sitting there scratching his bunny’s ears with a big grin on his face. The true nature of the situation set in and I freaked out.
A little piece of me died that day, and was vomited onto the kitchen floor.”