Ain't Misbehavin': Discipline Tactics That Work!
When It Works: Try this when a child doesn't do his homework, "forgets" to clean the kitty litter box, or refuses to eat breakfast. In a nutshell, a logical consequence is the process of discovering that if you don't eat, you will become hungry. Grades will fall if homework is not completed; the house will smell if the litter box isn't changed.
Why It Works: It allows children to learn firsthand what will (or will not) happen as a result of their actions (or inactions.) Too often parents try to protect children from the consequences of what they do, Tuttle says, depriving them of the chance to learn important life lessons. Using a logical consequences approach to discipline eliminates power struggles between parents and kids by keeping the focus on the child's behavior ("I see you forgot to clean the kitty litter tray again, Susan. Gee, maybe tomorrow we'll relocate it to your room since the smell apparently doesn't bother you.")
When It Doesn't Work: In dangerous situations. A child caught playing with matches shouldn't be encouraged to experience the logical consequence of getting burned.
Good for Ages: 6 and up.
When It Works: House rules are an effective, pro-active strategy when children know what the rules are, and what will happen if they are broken. Example: It's a house rule that homework has to be done before the TV goes on. If the homework's not done, you lose TV privileges for a set amount of time.
Why It Works: It eliminates the need for parents to think on their feet, by making expectations within the household very clear and consistent. It also gives kids a chance to voice their opinions about what the rules should be and how they should be applied. Many families post house rules in a prominent place in the household.
When It Doesn't Work: House rules fail to improve behavior when adults make them up arbitrarily, with little or no input from children, or when they fail to follow through. If parents ignore a broken curfew, for instance, house rules will cease to have any meaning and kids will ignore them.
Good for Ages: 4 and up.
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