Creativity expert, professor, father and former day care provider Rustin Wolfe writes a weekly MinnMoms parenting advice column that uses creative punishments to put a positive spin on negative behavior.
Here's one of his creative solutions:
Question: My son just lost another action figure. He brings as many as he can carry each time we leave the house and inevitably loses them. How can I stop him from demanding armfuls of toys for even short trips?
Behavior: Taking toys out of the house.
Problem: Losing toys taken out of the house.
Solution: Set a rule and stick to it.
Activity: You could tell him that toys don't leave the house, period. Explain why. You could tell him that toys can go into the car, but are not to be taken out at your destination. You could limit the materials allowed out of the house (e.g., nothing breakable, heavy, staining or irreplaceable). You could limit the size of toys allowed out of the house -- nothing too big or too small. If you recall the metal carry-on bag size measuring device from the airport, you could recreate a home version with your son. You could cap the number of toys allowed out of the house. I'm partial to two, one for each hand. It'll give him enough for a dialogue, but since the toys won't outnumber his hands, he won't need to set one down in order to have the dialogue. Ultimately, make sure he understands the risks in taking them out of the house, and if you're allowing him to make the decision, be prepared to let him suffer the consequences.
-- Want Rustin's solution for your child's challenging behavior? Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
-- Read the Naughty Column archive at minnmoms.com/naughtycolumn.