“If you can’t stay quiet, get out of the car and walk home!”

This one isn’t in the parenting guidebook and you won’t see an article on this topic in Parenting magazine.  Maybe your parents did this to you (my Mom sure did) or maybe you’ve already experienced this yourself as a parent.  If not, here are five lessons on how to discipline your noisy, annoying kids by pulling over to the side of the road and yelling, “Get out of the car and walk home!”

1. Choose age appropriate kids.  Kids five and younger are simply too young, not to mention you might be breaking state law if you allow your four year old to walk home alone.  Twelve year olds and older?  Be careful.  You risk being challenged by your smart-ass kids or they might even walk home and enjoy it.

2. Do it close to home.  This is important since you have to be prepared to follow through on your threat.  If you can’t follow through, best of luck on preventing your future teenagers from walking all over you.

3. It’s the surprise that counts. The key here is to politely ask them to stop yelling and hitting each other a few times first.  If you have already been screaming, you’re not going to have the appropriate impact.

4. Slam those brakes. This is crucial to getting their attention, so pretend you’re about to run over a bunny rabbit.  You want the kids to feel the tug on their seat belt, it will quiet them up and get their attention.

5. Make it count. Only my kids and a few select others have heard my Dad voice.  You need to be loud and forceful, yet clearly in control with no hints of desperation or uncertainty.  Think drill sergeant;  check out the first 40 minutes of Full Metal Jacket for inspiration.

Well, I had my first opportunity to put these lessons into practice last week.  Did it work?  Brilliantly.  Three blocks from home, after asking my 8 and 6 year old a few times to quiet down, I slammed on my brakes, looked back and yelled, “Be quiet, or get out of the car and walk home!”

Immediate silence was followed by pleading. “We’ll be quiet Daddy, please can we stay in the car?”  And in an encore moment three days later, the kids were acting up again.  Then before I could say anything, Claire uttered, “Stop it Grady.  I don’t want to have to walk home.”

Mission accomplished.

2 thoughts on ““If you can’t stay quiet, get out of the car and walk home!”

  1. lol, Love it!! I threatened to drag my daughter to the car one ay when she wasn’t cooperating. I forgot how literal kids can be, because she cried non stop and said I would scrape her skin off. oops!

  2. Guess I was the smart ass because my mom did this and I got excited. I was so happy to walk home. In fact I would ask her to drop me off a bit away from the house after that pretty often. My younger siblings enjoyed it too 🙂 We eventually started racing one another home.

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