"Memorize Passages From Shakespeare"—People Share The Strange Punishments They Received As Kids
Being punished sucked, and parents can get pretty clever. I remember one time, my brother and I were fighting over a toy in the backseat of our mom's car. Mama took the toy and threw it out the window as she was driving. Not really sure what we learned from it though...
yogokitty asked: What's the most strangely unique punishment you ever received as a kid? How bad was it?
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
The course of true justice never did run smooth.
My sisters and I would have to memorize passages from Shakespeare together. It was horrible to be fighting and then sit together for half an hour or more memorizing and reciting until my dad returned. One wrong word and he'd leave us for a while. Probably the worst part is it made me hate Shakespeare.
I have so many questions. How many times would you estimate this punishment was applied? How old were you? Did you turn out okay, despite associating the bard with being in trouble?
I don't know we were fighting all the time and this went on for years. I think this was pre-teen through high school maybe. I'm ok there were much worse life happenings than this. In college I had to read the merchant of venice and was surprised I liked it. Felt like the punishment was a little unproductive.
Well this is uncomfortable.
I had to kneel facing a wall while pulling my ears and if my ears weren't red enough when they came to check on me then I had to stay there even longer.
Didn't have to pull my ear but one time I was sent to the corner and on my knees. My mom went to a neighbors house and forgot I was there. I fell asleep.
I now can fall asleep in weird, uncomfortable places. It's like my sh*tty super power.
A lesson in patience?
My dad made us all go to the back of a 45-minute line at the theme park because I was being impatient and bratty.
Would do similar things, if anyone complained about dinner or how long it took to cook they would eat after everyone else.
Do you feel you learned from that kind of punishment (specifically the theme park one) or do you feel resentment?
When I worked TBS, we called this priming. Something we tend to forget as adults is that kids have the same emotions as we do, they just don't have the life experience to know how to control them yet.
How would YOU feel if you were visibly upset while waiting in a line, and then an employee came and told you that you had to go to the back of the line because you were being impatient. Pretty pissed, right? So why would a child be any different? But if you were warned ahead of time of the potential consequences of your actions, your behavior might preemptively change to avoid the consequence. Concrete expectations tend to yield better results than just the general, "Be good," or "behave yourself."
Of course, all kids are different and must be taught and coached to tailer their specific needs and personalities. It's part of being a parent/caregiver. If every kid could be treated the same, it wouldn't be so damn hard.
I really like this comment and think you are very right! Letting kids know the consequences of good and bad long term is critical.
Why sneaking around is bad: a Watergate story.
My best friend and I snuck out and walked to the nearby convenience store late at night in 6th grade. My father made me write a 20 page research paper on Watergate. I have no idea why he chose the topic but the knowledge has come in handy many times in my life.
How has learning about Watergate been helpful for you?
He hasnt broken into the DNC headquarters even once.
For the same reason be educated on corruption, gaslighting, due process, systems of government, and expectations of officials could help anyone?
It makes you more aware of manipulation, you notice corruption easier, you can make better political decisions and talk to those points in a more concise way.
They must not tell lies.
My parents would make my older brother and sister choose one of the encyclopedias, turn to a random page, and start copying everything down until my parents told them to stop.
My dad made me do something similar. Whenever I forgot to bring my vocabulary words home from elementary school he'd break out the dictionary and a notebook and tell me to start copying starting with the letter "a." He'd let me copy for about two hours and reprimand me. I got to pick up where I left off every time I forgot. Good times.
I had a teacher make us write out the definition of the word "run." Doesn't seem so bad, right? Wrong. Pages upon pages of writing.
No one wants a disappointed grandma.
In high school my friend got caught smoking weed by his mom. His punishment was that he had to tell his 95-year-old strictly religious great grandmother, who thinks weed is just as bad as heroin.
Every. Single. Time. I've f*cked up in my life my parents have reported it to their parents on their weekly phone call. When I was 14, I got to explain to grandma why I was getting a D in a class. When I was 20, grandpa sat me down and told me that he got an underaged drinking ticket when he was my age, too. When I was a real sh*t in middle school my parents would send me to my grandparents as a farmhand for however many weeks they thought it would take me to straighten out.
Oof, I would NOT want to do that.
Forced to smell dog breath. Because "If we have to deal with the filth from your mouth, you have to deal with the filth from its mouth"
It sounds funny, and it is funny looking back on it...but good god it was not funny then. I begged for almost anything else.
You're made to sit on a reclining kind of chair with hands behind your back (sometimes would have to sit on hands). Dad holds you down, mom gets the dog and puts it right on your lap, and holds its mouth basically an inch away from your nose. You're left there for a few minutes (more or less, depending on the severity of the offense) as the dog pants into your nose. Disgusting.
And don't worry about the dog. He seemed to almost enjoy it, the little f*cker.
The anticipation beforehand was awful too, having my mom tell me I was "sentenced" to receive this in the evening after my dad got home. Sometimes she'd give the dog a "treat" of tuna, or I'd see the dog lick its ass, and I'd feel so disgusted knowing I was about to having that being breathed on my face that night.
Okay this is f*cked up but I got a kick out of the dog enjoying it part, just imagining it from the dogs perspective.
So I get a tuna treat, and get petted by the big humans while sitting on the small humans lap? Holy sh*t my life is amazing.
Every parents wants to smash their kid's recorder.
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)!
Your dad had probably been looking for an excuse to break that recorder for a while.
My brother had a recorder for a while. We were all soooo happy when he "lost" it.
I threw a ton of glitter on my brother when he was in the bath tub. My parents bought a giant bag of glitter and dumped it on my bed. They made me count it and would not give me my phone or laptop back until I did.
In Catholic school, a nun made me go out back in the convent and cut her grass with a pair of scissors. My thumbs were bruised for a week and hurt for days.
How the f*ck did they expect you to count glitter!? Even better, what kept you from lying? It's not like they would count it and prove you wrong.
It was probably one of those bags that holds 5,450 glits.
A glit of course is one grain of glitter.
A just like that, a kink is born.
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 it wasn't something minor. 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."
"I hope this doesn't awaken anything in me..."
grabbed a dog collar and leash then tied me
This could go into the "What is something you hated as a kid, but love now?" topics...
Breaking up is hard to do.
And when you get the law involved, it's even worse. But sometimes people don't need the law's help to make things overcomplicated, they just have a grand ole time making that happen themselves.
People on the front lines of human cruelty include divorce lawyers. These are their stories.