What is the Penalty Box?
The Penalty Box is an innovative, hands-on parenting tool, designed by a child psychologist, to help families stay connected during turbulent times. When tempers flare, someone calls a "penalty" and the person who yelled draws a card from the Penalty Box, and follows the instructions on the card. The cards include three categories of research based anger management strategies (52 cards in all- 30 anger management activities, 10 chores and 12 blank cards for families to brainstorm their own ideas). The fun comes from not knowing what you are going to get, a quick run around the house that leaves everyone laughing, or a chore such as cleaning your bedroom. All of the cards were designed as a means to take a break from thinking about the angry situation, and to engage in a fun (or maybe not so fun) activity until the topic can be revisited more calmly.
The Penalty Box can be especially useful if you have a family member who has ADHD, Anxiety, or Autism, or someone who struggles with expressing anger in healthy ways. Perhaps, a parent may have grown up in a hostile environment and freezes-up or over-reacts when their child yells at them. They may need some time to regroup so they can respond as a leader. It can also be a great way to redirect a child's angry outbursts when they have to stop playing a video game. Their brains can be so charged up, and when we say "time's up," they lose it. Either way, all households can benefit from making their home environments more calm and have fun while doing it.