Forgetfulness and Lying

If your kids continually forget their responsibilities or are untruthful, try these discipline ideas:


  • As our children get older, it is critical that they learn to be self-reliant. After all, the goal of discipline is self-discipline. Life can teach them this lesson without our help. If theyforget their lunches or backpacks or homework or lunchmoney, don't run up to the school with it every time. Letting them feel the loss will cost them much less than never learning this important life lesson.
  • Logical consequences like the one described above provide the best opportunity for correction. But we can also set up artificial logical consequences as correction. If a bike is left in the driveway, it could be run over and destroyed. So take the bike away for two weeks. Was a baseball glove left out in the rain? It's the same principle.
  • If you have a child who continually forgets to turn off the lights, make her go a day without using anything that requires electricity. She'll soon get the point.
  • Tucker constantly forgot to put his rubber bands back on his braces after meals. We explained that Daddy was paying every month that he wore his braces. If he had to wear them even one month longer because he hadn't been diligent about replacing his rubber bands, that would cost about $100. We told him that he could pay us three dollars a day for every day he forgot to wear the bands. He only had to pay the price once.
  • Does anyone around your house forget to brush her teeth? Put a timer in the bathroom and have her set it for two minutes while she brushes. If she has to be reminded to do it, set the timer for four minutes.
  • This correction works well if you have a child who is constantly leaving his jacket, backpack, or any other personal belonging behind. Require him to baby-sit the item for three days. It must be carried to school and during mealtime, playtime, bath time, and bedtime. If your child is caught without it at any time, an additional day is added to the original three days.
  • Throughout the week, whenever you have to tell your children twice to do something, add 10 minutes to their Saturday work schedules. At the end of the week, before they have free time, their "sentence" must be worked off by "hard labor."
  • If you have a child who "forgets" to practice the piano or any other instrument, try adding time to his practice session on the days you have to remind him.


  • Draw up a contract with your child. After everyone agrees that lying, for example, is a cause for correction, establish and transcribe a reasonable punishment. Have you and your child sign and date the document. Then, whenever a situation comes up that would invite lying, gently remind him about the contract. Knowing that you will follow through on the penalty may be the extra incentive your child needs to choose to tell the truth.
  • Last week we ran into a few "heart" issues with Haven. It all came to a head when we caught her lying. Her correction has been to listen to the New Testament on tape. She usually gets to listen to an Adventures in Odyssey tape, but for the next 20 nights she will be filling her heart with the Truth.
  • If you catch your young child shoplifting, secretly alert a store clerk to summon the manager or, better yet, a uniformed security officer to give your child a little talk. The impact — far greater than hearing a lecture from Mom — could thwart a bigger problem down the road.
Adapted from Creative Correction by Lisa Whelchel, a Focus on the Family book published by Tyndale House Publishers. Copyright © 2000, Lisa Whelchel. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.

Next in this Series: Rowdiness