How to Use Consequences

After The Consequence

When the consequence or time-out has been served, ask your kid to describe what she did wrong and what she will do differently next time. If she can't remember or won't agree, she goes back to time-out, or the consequence is implemented again until she can. With younger kids or those who have difficulty remembering, you will need to guide them with their answers. Remember that a crucial part of an effective makeover is helping your kid learn what she did wrong so she won't be as likely to repeat the same misbehavior.

Some parents ask their child to draw or write a description explaining what they did wrong. Kids can also be required to prepare a "statement of intent" – a drawing, sentence, paragraph, or essay that explains how they plan to make over their own bad behavior so they don't repeat it.

If your kid does not comply with the consequence or doesn't complete the length of time-out correctly, go to Code Red, the highest level of punishment. She now loses the privilege of something she really cares about for a specified time period – an hour for little tykes and twenty-four hours for bigger kids. Make sure the possession or privilege is something you personally can control, such as use of the phone, computer, skateboard, video games, or TV. You and your kid agreed to the Code Red consequence previously, so now you must follow through.

Did You Know?

Did you ever wonder if how you discipline has anything to do with how your kids turn out? Leonard Eron, a research psychologist at the University of Illinois, was interested in just that. He studied 870 eight year olds in rural New York State to find out how their parents disciplined them, from using no physical punishment at all to slapping and spanking, and if it had any correlation to whether the kids became aggressive. He discovered that the more severely their parents punished them, the more aggressive they were with other kids. Twenty years later, Eron studied the same kids as adults. Those who were the most aggressive as kids became aggressive adults with aggressive children themselves.

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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.

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