Let’s Talk About Consequences
We are all familiar with consequences. But just to be clear, consequences are basically the outcome of one’s decision and choices. Consequences can be good or bad, but in either case this is an important lesson for a child to learn. Good decisions generally result in good consequences, and bad decisions generally result in bad consequences.
Why is it important for children to know about this? Because it helps give them motivation to behave respectfully. As adults, it is a good principle to know because it is how the world generally works, and learning this lesson when young helps an individual to figure out the world in a less frustrating way. There are so many road blocks that can be avoided when you are giving consequences to your child. Let’s talk about “What not to do.”
First, throw away unrealistic expectations. Parents who expect their highly energetic, rambunctious three-year-old to sit quietly through story time at the library and then gets angry when she doesn’t isn’t being fair. Yes, that’s right. I used the “F” word. If you know your child is unlikely to be able to follow through on something, don’t put your child in a position to fail. Instead, know your child’s strengths and weaknesses and adjust your expectations accordingly.
These weaknesses are areas in which you play a big part by demonstrating and allowing your child to practice until it improves. Can I just say this? Having a long, drawn-out discussion with a four-year-old about why you are upset that he’s biting kids at his playgroup is useless. Stop doing that. Kids are so not interested in your lectures. Think back to when you were their age, were you? In these situations, simple is better. Saying something like, “We don’t bite,” and then giving a consequence is the best course of action.
Second, I want you to decide upon one or two consequences for each rule broken and stick to them. Yelling, bribing and discussing his actions at great length would simply be confusing to a child. Please stop counting! It’s important to realize that kids are geniuses at knowing when their parents are wearing down and not confident in their own decisions. Using the “countdown method” is a waste of air. Approaching your child with confidence and a consistent consequence each time is your best line of defense.
Teaching consequences is a natural means of discipline. If a child disobeys your request not to throw his special ceramic toy around, it may end up broken as a result. (Who gives a child a ceramic toy anyway?) Sorry, I digressed. You may choose to implement a consequence such as removing the toy in order to make sure it doesn’t get broken. When your child has obeyed your request, he will find that he is given more privileges because he has shown himself to be trustworthy. Teaching consequences will help your child make good choices and live well in the world.
Beverly Jones-Durr is an Author, Dynamic Speaker, Certified Life Purpose Coach and Educational Facilitator. She is founder of Every Child Has a Story which is home to The Writer’s Vibe and Speech Crafters Club – “The Only Public Speaking Club for Kids and Teens in Alabama!” Beverly empowers young people to command their voice, feelings, ideals, energy and intellect and use all of that to boost their communication skills. Speech Crafters Club is a safe place for members age 8 and up to explore creativity and enhance their communication skills. What’s the back door benefits? We’re building and enhancing Self Esteem and Self Confidence one child at a time! The Writer’s Vibe empowers kids to use words to write stories only they can write and become stellar wordsmiths whose talents will no doubt someday change the world. The Writers Vibe program launches in 2017. Check us out and prepare to be amazed! You can also follow Beverly 0n Twitter, FaceBook and Pinterest