It’s a good idea to remember that when your kids misbehave, they do it for a reason: Not enough attention, tired, overwhelmed, etc. When you punish them, you usually increase the chances of misbehavior again, and create a child who’s “sneakier” about getting caught.
Instead, try natural consequences: If your kids don’t pick up their room in a timely fashion at night, then there isn’t time for their story that’s read to them before bed. If your teenager doesn’t get the car home on time, then they don’t drive for a while.
The point is to connect the misbehavior with the consequence — the closer the better. If your son keeps forgetting his glove to go to baseball practice but you keep retrieving it for him, he’ll keep forgetting it!
If as a natural consequence you let him deal with it on his own, he’ll probably learn pretty fast to remember it. You’ll create kids who learn from their own misbehavior and who take more responsibility for themselves. Isn’t that what we really want for them?
(I know I’ll hear from the “punishment is good” group on this one, but you may want to save your emails — I’m not buying it!)