No Sweets for the Sour

At our house we allow our kids to have one sweet treat per day (usually a healthier version). That’s been our system for a while and it works pretty well so that our kids don’t feel “dessert deprived” in a world fullllllll of sugar and candy.


But…sweets at our house are only given to little boys who are sweet. We feel like eating a dessert is a privilege, therefore it’s the first privilege we take away when any of our boys have ugly attitudes or don’t treat one another with kindness.

Occasionally we give them a warning when we see a bad attitude coming on. “Change your attitude to be sweet…or you won’t get a sweet for the day.”  Oooh, no one wants to miss out on their dessert. A happy face usually shows up almost immediately. But one warning is all they get. If the ugliness returns…they lose their dessert privilege.   And sometimes they don’t get a warning at all. Because, obviously they’ve already been warned that it’s not okay to torture a brother. ;) 

So…that’s one way we discipline our boys that works well for us. I love it because it’s a “punishment that fits the crime”:  If you aren’t sweet, you don’t get sweets.

What have you found that works well for you in regard to “punishment that fits the crime”? What are some privileges you take away from your kids that have been effective?

Find more helpful tips at Rocks in my Dryer.


  1. says

    I thank God every single time I read a post that mentions a gentle way to discipline children. With the way I see kids acting out in public, I totally respect those parents, as yourselves, who actually care about their actions and see to it that they behave respectfully. I’m sure all that sugar has a ton to do with their unruly behavior as well… hee hee!


  2. says

    It is nice to have alternative “discipline methods” we also revoke sweet rights as it is something that I do not like in my house to begin with, for my sake just as much as my childrens!


  3. Kari says

    I love what some friends of mine did when their older son took some of the baby’s diapers, peed on them, and then hid them in the closet. They charged him for the diapers taking the money out of the piggy bank. (I’m sure they also worked on making sure he knew he was loved and wasn’t being replaced by the baby.) It hurt him something awful to see the money leave his piggy bank. He didn’t do that again. (Oh yes, in case anyone wonders, it did take until the diapers got good and stinky for my friends to find them in the closet.)

    I’ll be checking back for more comments on this. I’m a sponge needing ideas!


  4. says

    We wash their mouths out with soap to ‘wash away ugly words.’ It’s a physical reminder and a concrete illustration of keeping what we say pure and clean.


  5. Julie in Australia says

    “Screen time” in our house is a huge privilege. This includes TV, Wii and computer time. So if there is poor attitude they lose screen time. Rest assured they don’t get to use these screens everyday and certainly not all in one day!


  6. Step says

    We use screen time (TV, computer, video games) for the boys because that is what speaks to them for discipline the best. They each get one hour per day of screen time, no more, so they don’t want to lose a minute of that time.

    My daughter isn’t into screen time so much, rather she is quite social, so she might lose the priviledge of seeing friends or having to go to her room for a while, alone.

    We take away dessert, too, but usually that’s tied into eating a good dinner. I like the idea of no sweets for the sour, though.


  7. says

    Love the sweets for the sweet idea! We have taken away visual entertainment privileges – computer, TV, Wii before, but now they don’t get it during the week so we will have to change to something. Thanks for the idea!


  8. says

    I like relating eating sweets to being sweet! As far as using the “punishment fits the crime” principle, we have been working on having a cheerful attitude while doing chores. So, if a child has a grumpy face or unpleasant attitude when asked to do something around the house, they are immediately assigned an extra chore to do once they finish the first one. This seems to have helped create at least a little more agreeable spirit when they are asked to help out.


  9. Emily Kay says

    I am glad you posted this-I am always looking for gentle discipline ideas! I use the kitchen timer alot in our house. It helps my kids when they are cleaning up their toys. I tell them they have, say, 5 minutes to pick up the stuffed animals. Whatever is left on the floor when the timer goes off, they lose for a week. It is a huge motivator for my 5 year old. She hates to lose even 1 toy!


  10. says

    What a wonderful Idea- Sweet treats are highly respected here so this will work perfect- I think:) we use the Doorposts charts which are scripture based parenting- for “bad attitudes” they reccomend loss of privledge.


  11. says

    We basically do the same thing. On days that I don’t make a dessert treat, they get a piece of candy after dinner. All the candy they get from people, church, etc… all goes in to one candy jar to be eaten later. I’ve also used this to promote good manners at the dinner table. If they don’t have good manners, they don’t get the dessert or piece of candy.


  12. Cassie J. says

    Three cavities at the last dentist visit and braces to boot! I’m ready to throw every stinkin’ piece of Valentine candy out the door! Add that I need to lose the five pounds I’ve gained since last summer and it’s outta here!


  13. L-C says

    There’s a wonderful book out there called “Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering” by Dr. Sarah J. Buckley. I’ve gotten lots of wonderful, gentle discipline ideas from this book!!


  14. Sarah says

    Sweets for the sweet is a great idea and one I will definitely use in our house. My two boys get a treat after dinner every night as well, ususally just a small something, but they really do look forward to it.


  15. says

    We’ve used this many, MANY times with our 3 year old… unfortunately, it’s a little less effective with our 1 year old ;)

    We’re trying out different methods of “guidance” lately, since our 3 year old is becoming quite defiant – there are only so many jellybeans one can take away!


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