How to Use Consequences

Consequences to Stop Problem Behaviors

Now that we've reviewed the general guidelines, here's a list of potential consequences that you might try depending on the age of your child and the circumstances of the bad behavior:

  • Monetary penalty. Establish a family jar with a lid that stays in one place in your home – perhaps the kitchen counter or the family room table. Then set an agreed monetary fine for designated misbehaviors. Each time any kid demonstrates the misbehavior, he is fined and must put the set amount of money in the jar. When the jar is filled, donate the money to a charity of the family's choosing. For kids short on money, make and post a list of chores that can be done to work off the fine.
  • Extra chores. Make a list of extra work chores – those beyond any of the regular responsibilities the kid might have already, such as vacuuming, dusting, raking leaves, or sweeping the patio. Any misbehavior means the kid must do one of the jobs. If your kid's behavior has affected another family member, he or she may be required to do a chore for the offended party, which relieves that person of a duty, or helps this person in some other way.
  • Apologies. Saying "I'm sorry" (in a voice that truly conveys the child is sorry) is always a way of responding to a misbehavior that affects other people. In some cases, a special apology may be required. Writing a note, having a face-to-face session, or delivering a small handmade gift can be a valuable consequence for some behaviors. An apology can also be required in addition to another consequence.
  • Grounding. Other than at school or church time, your kid must stay in the house for a specified length of time – generally one to three days – and lose all social privileges. For a much younger child, the length is usually no more than an hour or two. If the offense is particularly egregious, many parents also pull some or all home entertainment privileges – TV, video games, and phone.
  • Loss of privileges. Any continued display of the targeted misbehavior can result in your kid's losing certain specified privileges. Make sure it's something you have control over – for example, watching TV, playing video games, using the phone, listening to music, or use of a common family area.


From No More Misbehavin' by Michele Borba, Ed.D. Copyright © 2003 by Michele Borba. All rights reserved. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Buy the book at www.amazon.com.

family games

Everything you need for family game night!


The Latest and Greatest Book for Kids
Search our interactive Book Finder for the top new books for kids of all ages, brought to you by the latest book in the I, Funny series, "I Totally Funniest."

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Top 10 Wintertime Neighborhood Games
Who says you have to stay inside when the temperature drops? Snowy weather is a great excuse to round up your neighborhood for some outdoor winter fun and games.

2015 Family-Friendly Oscar Nominees
The Oscar nominations are in, and they include several family-friendly movies. See which flicks earned a nod for Best Animated Feature Film and other awards.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks