20 Kid Punishments That Are Adult Rewards

Robin Zlotnick - Author

Aug. 23 2019, Updated 4:09 p.m. ET

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Source: iStock Photo / Twitter

Plenty of things that we all totally hated as kids, things we would cry and scream over and complain about to no end, are things that today, as adults, we would consider total rewards. Whether it's staying home or going to bed early or hanging out with our parents, these are the things that we considered punishments or major bummers as kids that we would be more than happy to do these days.

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Staying home

Do you remember how horrible it was to be grounded as a kid? To not be able to leave the house? These days, I wish I could use that as an excuse. "Ooh, sorry, I can't make it to your 30th birthday party. I'm grounded." I wish. 


As a kid, you have way too much energy, so when you are forced to nap, it seems like a total punishment. As adults, though, we would give anything for 20 quiet minutes in the middle of the day to shut out the lights and lie down. Remember napping on those little carpet sample squares in pre-school? They should make adult versions of those.

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Going to your room

Being sent to your room was a classic kid punishment. Many times would I slam the door to my bedroom after my parents yelled at me to go up there to think about what I did. But today? Getting to hang out in my bedroom is a dream come true. It's got pillows, blankets, AC. What more could I ever want?

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Going to bed early

When I was a kid, I was a total night owl. I'd stay up past midnight whenever I was allowed, either watching TV or sneakily reading a book under the covers. Now, if I'm awake past 10:30, I consider it a victory worthy of a social media status update. Oh how times have changed.

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Alone time

Being alone as a kid was boring. Now, as an adult, it's all I crave. What I wouldn't give for a day all to myself, free from having to interact with anybody. Alone time is the best time now.

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Eating vegetables

When you're a kid, eating vegetables is something you do solely so you can have dessert. As adults, not much about that changes, except for the fact that despite your best efforts, you sometimes start to enjoy eating them. Plus, they're necessary if you want to keep your poops regular.

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Eating your whole plate

Kids love to come up with any excuse not to eat everything on their plate. Sure, their bagel centers are too holy. Now? As an adult? Why would I ever leave a bagel half-eaten on my plate? Eating is one of the few joys left in life.

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Eating your parents' home-cooked meals

As a kid, all you want to do is eat fast food and order take out. It's the stuff that tastes the best, so you complain when you have to eat what your parents cook. But now that you're grown, broke, and bad at cooking, you'd kill for a homemade dinner once in a while.

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Not using electronics

This was a big punishment when I was a kid: "No computers for the rest of the day!" Today, that would be a dream. A godsend. We are all addicted to our phones. If I could go off the grid for a week... or even a day...I don't know what I'd do with myself. It would be totally new.

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Getting socks as gifts

This tweet is extremely accurate. As a teenager, socks are pretty much the worst thing you can get as a gift. They basically say, "Here. I don't love you." But once you reach adulthood, socks become coveted belongings. Soft hugs for your feet. 

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Getting cash as a gift

As a kid, cash was a fine present to receive, but things were way better. As an adult, if someone tries to give me a thing for a present, I stare at them in the face until they return to the store from whence they came and leave that thing there. I want cold, hard cash, people! 

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Sometimes, baths could be fun as kids, but most of the time, they seemed like a giant waste. Why clean myself when I could run around in the dirt instead? Today, baths — and even sometimes showers — can feel like the highest form of luxury.

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Long car rides

Long car rides and road trips were absolute torture when I was little. Remember, this was the days before smartphones and even TV screens in cars. We were forced to play the Punch Buggy game and other boring time-wasters. Now, I love getting in the car and just going, you know? Gives me time to think...

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Shopping with your parents

I'm embarrassed at the way I used to act when my mom took me shopping. I hated it so much and would be miserable all the time. Now, shopping with my mom is one of my favorite things to do. She buys me all the things!!! What could be better than that?!

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Hanging out with your parents

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Source: Buena Vista Pictures

In general, hanging out with your parents was not cool when you were a kid. No one wanted to be that kid. Now, I love it! They're my besties! They take care of me! They're the best!

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Living in a small town

Again, if you grew up in a small town, chances are you hated it. It was boring. Nothing happened. There was nothing to do. But now, as an adult, my ideal living situations would be a cabin in the woods with 50 dogs and no telephone.

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Running errands

It's honestly really sad how excited I get when I have to run errands and buy new things for my apartment. Bed, Bath, and Beyond is great. TJ Maxx will always surprise you. Don't even get me started on Cost Plus World Market.

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Drinking alcohol

Remember when you were a kid and your dad let you have a sip of his beer? It was so disgusting and you swore you would never like the taste of it. But here you are, 15 years later, making whole days out of trips to the local craft brewery.

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Drinking coffee

Similarly, coffee was such a legendary thing that as a kid, you thought it must have tasted like the nectar of the gods. But when you were afforded a sip, you realized it tasted like mud and vowed never to touch the stuff. Now, though? Definitely nectar of the gods status.

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Going to museums

Sure, they make fun museums for kids with things to touch, but I'm talking good ol' fashioned art museums. As a kid, there was nothing more boring. As an adult, it's super peaceful and you feel cultured and you get your steps in just by walking around a museum. It's a win-win-win.

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