The What and Why of ConsequencesJan 25, 2022
Many years ago, we used to punish our kids for negative choices and use that punishment to deter them from wanting to make that choice again. Punishment comes in many forms such as whipping, slapping, putting them in a corner, making them write lines, giving timeouts, or grounding. We may have experienced this as a kid or we may be doing some of these now as parents. But what really is punishment?
Punishment is inflicting a penalty on a child for a choice that they made or taking vengeance for a hurt they caused you or causing pain for an offense.
We used to believe that punishment is the way to make our kids change. And yes, we do see some short-term changes in our children’s behavior when we use punishment. But is this really the best way?
In our work with parents, it is shocking to see how many people will say,
“Just slap the child”,
“Make them fly across the floor,”
“Just beat the bad out of them”
We see that there’s a lot of physical punishment still being used. Grounding or making the child miserable as a result of making negative choices is also something we commonly see. A lot of these parents are saying these things because they see results--that their child is respectful and not sassy or back-talking. But what we see long-term is that the child does not develop as healthy or as well as other kids do.
We want to let you know that there is an even better way to see an improvement in behavior without using punitive measures. And that’s through consequences.
Consequences are the logical results that follow after certain choices. For example, if I lie, the logical conclusion is people won’t trust me. So a good consequence for a lying child is for them to lose privilege over anything that requires trust. This teaches our kids a lot better what their choices actually do in real life. We will dive deeper in the next emails but this is the guiding principle when it comes to consequences:
Consequences should teach the natural outcome of a choice. The cause and effect.
If I lie, people won’t trust me.
If I damage property, I am responsible for replacing that property.
If I am disrespectful, people won’t be around me and it will hurt my relationships.
How do you improve your child’s behavior? Are you team punishment or team consequence? We hope that as we go through our teachings, you’ll see and understand that shifting our energy in allowing our kids to experience consequences is the best way to go. Learn more about this in our free parenting class.
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