People From Around The World Share Their Parents' Strangest Punishments

People From Around The World Share Their Parents' Strangest Punishments

We all got grounded as kids. Maybe spanked, or at least threatened with it. Put on time out. Those are pretty standard. But as you'll discover in this article, some parents out there take an altogether strange tack when it comes to disciplining their children. These out-of-the-mainstream punishments range from oddly sweet, to funny, to odd, to downright cruel. But they're all a little out there, one way or another.


40. wE tAkE uR iNtErNeTz LoL

My parents said I was playing too much Skyrim when it came out, so they took the router with them to work every day. Good thing you don't need internet to play an offline single player game.

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39. Punished with comfort

For some reason my parents allowed my brother and I to have a very basic bow and arrow which we were allowed to shoot at a cardboard box in the backyard. I, being very young and very dumb, crawled into the box while my brother was firing. Parents were not pleased and to demonstrate how dangerous what I had done was, they made me lay on the couch for the whole day and pretend I was in a hospital bed.

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38. Major flop

When I was 10, mom would take my NES games for a week.

When I was 13, mom would take my SNES games for a week.

When I was 16, mom would take my BLANK FLOPPY DISCS for a week.

I didn't explain the mistake to her until I moved out.

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37. Mission accomplished?

Me and my sister were fighting after I tried to steal some of her chili fries and she stabbed me with a fork. Dad took us out back and tied us up face to face with a rope. Told us when you figure out how to work together you will be able to get out. After we stopped spitting on each other, we did in fact team up to get out of there. So... mission accomplished?

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36. Should have been grounded to the ground

I would get grounded to the front porch because when I was grounded in my room I would entertain myself with literally anything, even lint from the carpet. So my dad finally had enough and made me sit on the front porch and I wasn't allowed to talk to anyone except to say that I'm grounded and can't talk.

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35. Not a good look

If I cursed, my mom would make me go into the bathroom and say every curse I knew while looking in the mirror so "I could see how ugly I made myself look while cursing".

Well, I learned that if I wanted to curse with impunity all I had to do was say one profanity and get sent to the bathroom where I could say any curse I could think of, punishment free, for as long as I wanted.

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34. Diaper duty

My mom was pretty old school so she wasn’t against spanking, which was my usual punishment.

Strangest was when I made fun of my sister for wetting the bed, calling her a baby and stuff. My mom wasn’t happy because I was making her cry and setting her back. So as a punishment she made me wear a pull up whenever my sister had to.

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33. Growing up Uncle Ben

When I was little, my mom's go-to punishment was to make me kneel on uncooked rice for about 15 minutes. Had to keep a straight back or else the time was increased. She did this because that was how her mom punished her and her brother. She eventually stopped using this punishment after she set some clear boundaries with my very controlling grandmother. She never felt right making me do it. My little sister never had to go through it...I kind of resented that for a while, but eventually was grateful she didn't experience it.

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32. That's legitimately messed up

The "Buck Rag." Still have nightmares.

For those who don't know, a buck rag is a rag that's been rubbed all over a sweaty, oily, pee-soaked billy goat in rut, and is often used for goat breeding purposes.

In our Alabama town, it became popular for parents to use these to punish children. Goat farmers would even sell the rags for the purpose.

Basically the teenager would be taken outside, and the parents would remove the buck rag from the jar, drape it over the kid's face, and tie a knot in the back. Plenty of room to breathe, no room to avoid the smell.

I never saw why everyone feared it so much until my parents gave it to me one night for sneaking around with my boyfriend at night. I puked. A lot.

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31. To sports or not to sports?

I was always more the artist type. Didn't much care for throwing the football around or working on cars. I wasn't belittled or anything, my family let me do me.

But my step-father was an evil genius and when I did something that was considered a minor infraction he'd give me the option of either going to bed early or staying up till my normal bedtime but having to watch sports with him in the living room. And I couldn't just zone out or read. He'd sit there and make chit chat about the game or try explaining the rules or the players stats or something else I couldn't have cared less about.

I'm 34 and we still laugh about that sometimes.

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30. Seriously: just let your kids read

My parents routinely took away my library card when I did something worth punishing.

So I memorized the number so that I could check out books anyway.

When they caught on they refused to go to the library with me for the duration of my punishment.

So I started volunteering at the library once a week so they had to take me.

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29. Hit me until I'm smart

I got a bad grade on a math test in elementary school. As my dad dropped me off for the day, I quickly told him he needed to sign something (the test). He was SO FURIOUS, that even though I was already late for school, he drove the 2 miles back home, spanked me and made me walk to school. I was soooo late.

I understand that parents want their kids to do well in school, but getting angry like that over a bad grade is soooo dumb, and rather counterproductive. My parents would yell at me if I wasn’t on the honor roll and say things that just made me feel like crap. Instead of going to them for help when I was struggling in school I talked as little about school with them as possible.


28. Well, that's a new one

Forced to smell dog breath if I used any foul language. Because: "If we have to deal with the filth from your mouth, then you have to deal with the filth from its mouth." I got this on numerous occasions.

It sounds silly at first, but it was anything but at the time. I begged them to give me anything but that.

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27. There's nothing worse than feeling you've let someone down

No punishment. And that in itself was punishment.

I totally bombed during my first semester in college. I took 16 credits and ended up with a 0.77 GPA for the semester. Yes, less than 1.0.

My parents were disappointed, but told me that they knew I could do better, and they knew I would do better. They forgave me and basically said "Okay, so you screwed up. Now make it better and make us proud."

The fact that they were not upset really weighed on me. It REALLY put a ton of guilt and shame upon me, even though they didn't put those things on me, I did it to myself!

It really motivated me to not dick around any longer in college. I buckled down and really succeeded.

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26. Even the victim feels bad about this punishment

I was being a jerk as a teen (I think I was 15) and tormenting my little brother by grossing him out. Stuff like burping in his face when he didn't expect it, making him smell my feet, etc, and he really hated it. It made me laugh and I called him a wimp for being grossed out so easily.

After he came to her crying one day about it, my mom warned me that if I didn't stop, I'd be very sorry.

I didn't listen. Worst mistake of my childhood.

My mom ran a small "doggy daycare" and pet grooming business. The next time I did this to my brother, she put me to work cleaning filthy dog kennels -- without gloves, and without a scooper.

Worse, she introduced me to what dog "butt glands" are, which groomers often have to "express." Around 3 times a day that week, I had to express dog butt glands. I was not allowed to wear gloves. I puked. Every. Single. Time.

She planned on the punishment lasting all week, but my bro asked her to let me off the hook after he saw how defeated and broken I looked by Wednesday.

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25. The Breakfast Club approach

My dad's punishments were odd. If he caught me doing something I wasn't meant to, he wouldn't stop me from doing it, he'd make me do it more and more until I was sick of it. It worked quite well to be honest.

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24. You're grounded; go play with your friends

They were mad I was playing too many video games (Civilization, Master of Orion II, World of Warcraft I, Final Fantasy I, Tactics, Ogre Battle, Ur-Quan masters, okay, so I played lots of games...). So they made me go out with friends more. Now keep in mind, I did have friends and was social and would go out once or twice a week with them... but according to my parents, ANY video games were bad.

So my parents forced me to go hang out in my buddy's garage where they just drank and smoked up at 13 years old. A couple of them ended up getting into some serious stuff by around 16, and my parents still were forcing me to go hang out with them -- because their parents were "good people" that will "sort him out."

Well, they never did.

I always thought it was funny that they considered cerebral strategy games more damaging to my development than hanging out with 13-16 year old kids with serious addiction issues.

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23. Stupid? Check. Violent? Check

One time when I was super young, I didn’t eat all of the food on my plate my dad told me I was gonna eat it or wear it. I was full and I said I’m not gonna eat it. Then my dad slammed my head into my plate of food. Definitely was a very strange punishment.

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22. A scanner, darkly

When I was 16 I got caught shoplifting a CD. Thankfully they didn't press charges but my father confiscated every possession I owned short of the essentials (mattress, blankets, clothes), and ironically, a $200 police scanner, still in the box, he didn't know about. And that's how I got into listening to police scanners.

Scanner was shoplifted as well and I never shoplifted again after getting caught.

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21. The underground

I was deathly afraid of my basement, and the threat for not adhering to lights-out time was being forced to sleep in the basement for the night.

Anyway, I forget what I was doing but I was up to no good one night, probably reading comic books with a flashlight or something. I got sent to sleep in the basement and was pretty much up all night being super scared.

It was threatened a lot but I think it only actually happened once.

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20. The punishment fits the crime

We had 4 cats. Mostly because I wanted them.

But I often would "forget" to clean their litter boxes because it grossed me out. Especially when one of the cats weren't feeling well, I couldn't stand the stench. So I often just kept putting it off until someone else did.

After my mom got tired of this, I came home from high school one day to find all of the litter boxes moved into my bedroom. I was told they would stay there for a week. I was not allowed to open windows, or to sleep anywhere besides my bedroom.

She also replaced the litter we were using to a brand with no odor reduction.

It doesn't sound like much...but oh my god it was horrible. I would have much rather been spanked.

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19. That's completely insane

My brother was caught shoplifting video games at the age of 14. I was 10, at home and totally unaware of what he was doing at the time. The police had been called, and my parents had to pick him up at the station (a scared straight kind of thing).

Understandably, he was lectured and grounded from video games plus certain other privileges for 3 months.

No so understandably I too was included in this punishment. When I protested and pleaded my undisputed innocence, the only reply was a confusing mishmash of contradictory explanations.

I would never do that to a kid.

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18. A self-fulfilling prophecy?

My mom always told me I would end up in prison.

As punishment, she would make me sit in time out under an office desk with a slat back chair turned upside down on top so the back covered the opening like bars.

Come dinner time she fed me hard rolls and water because "That's what they serve in prison."

I found out years later, while not good food, prison food is much better than hard rolls and water.

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17. WrestleMania mania

I desperately wanted to order WrestleMania. I was a massive Hulk Hogan fan. Well, I was acting like a little pest and wouldn't stop. So, my dad ordered the WrestleMania Pay Per View. He sat in the living room and watched it and made me sit in the other room where I could just barely hear it but couldn't see it. He watched the whole bloody thing and didn't let me move or ever see the screen. It was just effing brutal.

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16. I like this one, actually.

When I was 5 or 6 (def old enough to know better) I bit my older sister directly on the stomach. Left top and bottom teeth imprints, I mean it wasn’t something minor. I screwed up big time. Mom grabbed a dog collar and leash then tied me to a doorknob for several hours. “If you act like a dog you get treated like a dog”.

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15. An academic solution

Essay writing.

My dad is a graduate school professor and he made us write essays about what we had done wrong, why it was wrong, and what we should have done instead. We had to cite sources and use outside information/research. My dad would then read and correct the content and grammar of the essays until they were deemed satisfactory.

We were basically grounded until the essay was complete and considered good enough. The worse the punishment, the longer the essay and the harder he critiqued it.

For example, you left the dishes in the sink after being told way too many times? Pretty soon you were writing a short essay about germs and proper food handling, etc

I remember specifically getting caught drinking in the garage when I was 16. My dad was furious and I had to write a 20-page essay about what the consequences of teenage drinking were to my 16-year-old brain, how much legal trouble I could have gotten into, and how much legal trouble my parents could have gotten into for allowing teenage drinking.

Huge pain, but it got us thinking about topics we usually didn’t think too in-depth about, and it was better than having my parents yell and scream. Usually by the end of the essay writing process, both parties would have chilled out and a calm discussion would follow.

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14. Treat for a grownup, punishment for a kid

When I was a kid and at my grandparent's place, whenever I was sick I had to swallow a tablespoon full of whiskey. Made me throw up every time. It didn't matter what the medical problem was. I got a tablespoon of whiskey. Poison Ivy? Whiskey. Flu? Whiskey. Food poisoning? Whiskey. Fell out of a tree and scrapped myself up real bad? Whiskey.

I think I was punished for being weak. There was no winning. If Grandma or grandpa suspected that I wasn't feeling 100%, they'd straight out ask me what was wrong, and I had to say something or risk worse punishments.

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13. Don't worry: there's a happy ending

Bit of backstory: For many years, my mother was having an affair with a married man. Every weekend we could go to sleazy motels where my brother and I would stay in a room with his daughter while he and my mother shacked up for the weekend in another room.

Backstory part 2: As a child, I was obsessed with Florida. Always wanted to go there. It was my dream.

Main story: One week in the summer I was with my Grandma. (I was around 10.) My cousins from out of town were also coming to stay. I was super excited. My mother calls me at Grandma's house and the following conversation takes place.

Mom: Do you want to go with us this weekend?

Me: Where to?

Mom: The hotel, like always.

Me: No I wanna hang out with my cousins and Grandma.

Mom: Okay.

Fast forward one week and she picks me up from Grandma's. My little brother starts telling how they went to Florida. I think he is a dumb kid making up stories so I tell him to shut up. No, he says, we went to Florida. My mother corroborates his story. I start to cry and ask why she didn’t tell me they were going to Florida. She then informs me that her boyfriend (later husband) decided that since I would rather see my cousins and Grandma than spend time with him, that my punishment was I didn’t get to go to Florida. I was devastated.

Yes, there’s quite a long list of every kind of abuse there is. And I spent a lot of years in therapy. He is dead and I have had no contact with my mother for close to 20 years.

6 months ago, I moved to Florida. I live a mile from the beach. I’m happier than I’ve ever been.

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12. As strange as it is sad

When I was a kid, like preteen, I still often slept in my mom's king sized bed. Single parent, only child, it didn’t seem that weird. Sometimes we shared, sometimes she slept in my single, whatever, just setting the tone.

At one point, she started seeing some guy and he came over unexpectedly to spend the night. She was super hammered, he probably was too, and she obviously wanted me out of her bed. So, middle of the night on a weeknight, she comes rampaging up the stairs and starts screaming at me for not sleeping in my own room and threatening to beat me senseless if I don’t move immediately. I’m full-on sleeping at this point, not a gentle waker, I’m a grumpy, emotional preteen and she’s a chronic partier so our relationship isn’t great. She starts making these demands and on the fight-or-flight spectrum I prepare for war.

I don’t really know the how or why of the details, but I guess the boyfriend had been on the water earlier that day and come across, of all things, a dead heron. And being the strange, inebriated man he was, rather than leave this majestic dead thing in its place to decompose as nature intended, he cut off one of its wings to bring home to my mom as some sort of trophy. Unbeknownst to me, this item became the threat she used next when I refused to relocate sleeping spaces. She truly did attempt to beat me senseless with the severed wing of a very large bird.

I entered foster care not 6 months later.

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11. Oh say can you C-Span

I loved reading as a kid, so my father realized sending me to my room wasn't a punishment. My father is an English professor. So he got smart.

After a while, my punishment wasn't go to my room, it was watch C-Span. I would have to watch politics for hours, and we would talk about it. I was one of the few, if only, 12-year-olds who could talk about the Senate, the House, who is trying to push through what...

As a grown up now, I'm thankful, as a kid, I was stunned - how did he come up with something so boring and torturous.

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10. I've never met your parents, but I hate them

My mom was always taking my books away because I’d read instead of doing my homework. Also my mom would go through the trash and punish me based on what I ate. In middle school my parents took all my makeup away from me because I hated leaving the house without it. I got a C in math in 8th grade and there was nothing left to take away, so my parents decided I would move in with my dad and go to a different high school than all my friends as a punishment.

I’m 22 and have been paying my own phone bill for 4 years but my mom still tries to take my phone away from me if she feels like I’m on it too much.

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9. Off the record

My sister and I were arguing over some cheap plastic recorder (the musical kind, like a clarinet from hell for overtired parents). I wanted it because she wanted it, she wanted it because I wanted it... In the end, my dad walked up to us and settled it by breaking the recorder in half and handing us each a piece. We both learned a valuable lesson that day, I think. (Note: I love my dad more than anything, and I definitely had a wonderful childhood!)

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8. Were you born into the Schrute family?

In my birth family the only punishment other than being spanked with a hairbrush was the silent treatment and shunning, and it was terrible. Because we were never told what we had done wrong, or even what the rules were, we would have to silently guess what rule we had broken. There was no prize for guessing right, and the silent treatment could go on for days or longer.

It was bad because it made me really jumpy, made it hard for me to trust people, and because I then had to teach myself how to speak up instead of sulking to communicate.

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7. Hot fire

When I was younger and I swore, my mom would put a pickled jalapeno in my mouth and make me stand in the corner. If I swallowed the jalapeno she would make me eat the entire jar.

She also had the tendency to trash my room and make me clean it. Like, flip the mattresses, drawers, all the closet shelving, everything. So then I'd clean it and she would promptly re-shred my room and make me clean it again. Rinse repeat 3 or 4 times. I'd be dehydrated from crying and still to this day I never really understood why she did it. I'm still bitter enough about it that if I asked today, I'd probably cry.

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6. We didn't start the fire

Once I remember as a kid my friend and I were playing with fire in our neighborhood. The wind kicked up and it blew into the long grass. Out house was across the road from the fire so my friend and I just ran home.

We had our faces pressed against the window watching the fire and the fire department inevitably turn up. My dad asked us if we had lit the fire, we both said no no no!

He knew we had. He took me into the shed and put some newspaper down on the ground and told me to stand on it. He said, if you lie, your feet will sweat and I will be able to see your footprints on the newspaper.... He asked me the question again. Did you light the fire, boy? Yesss!

Dad got me good. Can't remember what the punishment was but it was prob a cold shower and loss of TV or something.

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5. Is it too late?

When I was in 2nd grade, I made a comment to my mom about how I always saw on TV that the mom cooks and cleans while the dad sits on the couch all day, but in our family, it was the opposite. My dad was also the sole bread winner of the family.

This did not sit well with my mom. She took away all of my clothes, locked me out of my bedroom, made me sleep on the hallway floor for a while, and would drop me off on the side of the road after school and tell me to walk home. My dad had to take me to the store to get new clothes with my life savings (which at 8 years old was $60). This was in the name of “showing me all that she does for me.”

When I was around 16, I told this to a counselor and they informed me this is abuse and my parents would’ve been arrested if I had told any of my teachers.

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4. Cruel and unusual

I experienced bizarre punishments as a kid from a few different adults but the most messed up punishment were called "snow baths". We lived in northern Michigan where it gets really cold and the snow is deep. When me and my sister acted up we were made to strip naked and go outside and roll around in the snow for a few minutes until we were covered. This was in the 70s and I was between 7-9 years old and my sister is younger. Amazed I turned out without being a complete head case.

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3. Loosen the belt

This is kinda different because the punishment wasn’t bad.

We were visiting our cousins and then the adults decided to visit Expo ‘88. I really wanted to go but for some reason everyone else went except me and my cousin the same age. Before they left for the day the told us “don’t go riding your bikes up and down the street, and don’t go lighting fires”.

Well the first thing we do when they left is to go riding the bikes up and down the street. It was more like a steep road, and we would go to the top and coast down to see how fast we could get. Next thing was to take up some leaves and play with fire.

Anyway they come home and somehow know about the riding the bikes from a neighbor and also notice the burnt leaves around the yard. We got marched inside and put through the usual interrogation and then my uncle decides we must be punished. He takes off his belt, leads my cousin into a bedroom and shortly after I hear three hard whacks, each followed by loud yelps of pain.

My cousin comes out, tears streaming down his face, and my uncle walks over and hands the belt to my dad, who then leads me in to the bedroom. I’m petrified.

He closes the door and looks at me. “Son, I can’t hit you with this,” he grins. “Just lie on the bed, and I’ll hit it beside you, and you yell out and pretend it hurts.”

So that is what we did. And then I had to do my best impression of a crying, scolded boy when I left the room. My uncle gave Dad a look like “good job” and we kept that secret for years. When my cousin finally found out he couldn’t believe it. In fact, it was usually my Mum who would would punish us, Dad was a bit of a free spirit and probably thought it was funny we broke the rules.

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2. Laughter heals all things

When I was 4, my mother was fed up with my stubborn refusal to eat my sandwich at lunch one day. She picked it up, separated the two slices, and stuck it to my face. There was a moment of complete silence as I stopped whining and evaluated what she'd done. After that we were both too collapsed with laughter to be mad at each other.

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1. No, no part of this is common

I have a couple:

Because I was short (at the age of 8?) my guardian told me that I needed to grow taller. |But since I couldn’t because, I mean, I don’t think I can grow taller just by thinking about it, she made me jump everyday and reach for the door frame. She justified it because NBA players are tall, and they jump, so if I jumped (and pretend to dunk a basketball) I will grow taller.

I also took piano lessons, I would practice for 2 hours a day, everyday. When I would mess up on one song (note-wise or speed-wise), I’d have to play 2 more times. One time it added up to the point that I needed to play the piece over 200 times. I refused to spend my whole day playing it, so my guardian took my piano book and locked me outside of the house for an hour.

This one might be common, but whenever they didn’t like my behavior or my actions in general they’d confiscate all of my electronics and turn off the WiFi...that one hurt the most.

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