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Give your child consequences that work

By Ijeoma Thomas-Odia
06 August 2022   |   3:24 am
Consequences are as a result of an action or an event; it can be negative or positive. While positive consequences reinforce behaviour and make it more likely to happen again

Consequences are as a result of an action or an event; it can be negative or positive. While positive consequences reinforce behaviour and make it more likely to happen again, the negative consequences make behaviour less likely to happen again.

Children have the possibility of testing limits and patience and their parents, hence it is time to up your parenting skills and feel less frustrated about the situation. Some children don’t seem to listen and will also ignore warning signs of impending disciplinary measures.

To counteract this, have a purposeful, well-articulated plan for what to do when rules are broken. In most cases, the issue is that consequences are not being used in the most effective way to curtail misbehaviour and teach expectations.

Know that consequences, when given and enforced the right way, can make your child sit up and take notice that you mean business. Also, aim to implement them in a firm, kind way that focuses on encouraging better behaviour rather than punishment. Here are a few ways to make consequences work:

Be consistent; positive and negative consequences only work if they are given consistently. If you only take away your child’s toy three out of every five times he hits his sibling, he is unlikely to learn not to do it. This is because you are sending a message of being unserious about what you say and you can be persuaded to change your mind.

Also, give positive attention, for a healthy caring relationship with your child is a necessary foundation for discipline. If your child respect you, consequences will be much more effective. Hence, invest more time with your child, it could be spent listening attentively to your child while he is talking, or going for a walk together.

Giving consequences with a vague end time may signal that you’re not really serious and that you may just be making an empty threat in the heat of the moment.

Your child may also get the message that things will soon blow over. Or your child may feel like you are imposing an overly strict response. This gives him little incentive to start complying if he thinks he’ll never be able to get back in your good graces.

So, it is important to outline how long the consequence is in effect. Often, 24 hours is a reasonable amount of time to take something away from your child. You can tell him, “You’ve lost your video game until this time tomorrow.”

Teach your child with consequences; there’s a difference between consequences and punishments. Consequences should be used as a teaching tool. They are not intended to shame kids the way punishments often do. In fact, punishments often make behaviour problems worse, not better.

Instead, logical consequences teach better choices by ensuring that the consequence fits with the misbehaviour. So, if your child refuses to turn off his video game, take it away.

Ensure it is age appropriate. For discipline to be effective, experts have said that it requires an approach to consequences that are developmentally appropriate for your child. For example, if a child under three breaks a rule, you may choose to remind them that they will get a time out if it happens again, which is enough to affect behaviour.

The spirit of using consequences is not to make your child feel humiliated, embarrassed, ashamed, or unloved. So, remember to give your child a negative consequence each and every time they break a rule and a positive consequence for the actions you want to see more of.

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