The essay punishment came from my friend Jolene. When her boys got into 'serious enough that I had to call them on it' trouble, she invoked the essay punishment. They would have to write a page about what happened, why it was wrong, and what they learned from a gospel perspective, including quotes from church leaders, and a few scriptural references. Then, along with mom, they would pick their punishment. She said that their personal punishments were far worse than any she could dish out (sometimes she actually felt guilty and would reduce the sentence).
Well, the other day, without getting into specifics, I caught Raspberry lying to me. I didn't have to prod too much; the child wears every feeling she has on her face – including guilt. Yelling at her would have been pointless, so I implemented our first essay punishment. I told her to write me a letter saying sorry for what she did and then we would talk about it and pick her punishment. After receiving the note, we talked about lying and then decided the punishment. She thought about it and came up with these:
No more salt at dinner.
Only one more red popsicle.
Have to put away my shoes in the basket.
We ended up canceling our movie and popcorn night. She cried and then fell asleep. The next morning she said, 'I'm hungry and starving from lying. That is so dumb!'
I'm not positive, but I think she might be writing a lot of essays.