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Provide Related, Respectful, and Reasonable Consequences for Misbehavior

Rewarding Consequences

It's a Good Idea!

Encourage your children to notice and value the positive and negative results of their actions. It's a skill that will help them make positive choices throughout life.

It's a Good Idea!

You can often “choose” to use natural consequences as a disciplinary technique simply by allowing them to happen.

It's a Good Idea!

All this talk of choosing appropriate consequences sound heavy? I guess it is when you think about it. Heavy doesn't mean difficult, though. The best consequences are very simple, and, since they come directly from the misbehavior, are fairly straight forward. Stick close to the misbehavior, and you'll find your consequence.

On top of making your consequences related, respectful and reasonable, it's also important to make them rewarding.

What? How can you make consequences rewarding?

Stop: I'm not talking about chocolate, flowers, or gold medals. Remember that discipline is not meant to be punishing, and that unless your child reaps some benefits from the consequence (a reward) they won't learn from the experience, and they won't have any reason to begin to discipline themselves.

I'm talking about knowledge and understanding. Knowledge about natural and logical consequences, how the world works, is a strong, fine, satisfying reward. (That's why my daughter was so happy to be cold after her swim lesson. Kids love order, balance, and when the world makes sense.)

Remember, also, that all behaviors have consequences. Consequences are not innately good or bad, they just are, which means that many times a child will behave a certain way and the consequence will be positive.

Explicit Consequences

The best consequences are also explicit, that is, the child understands the why and what of them (and so do you). Whether it's a logical consequence or a natural consequence, your child will learn best when it's very explicit. Use this time as an opportunity. Talk to your child about the consequence:

  • State what it is.
  • State why it's occurring.


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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to a Well-Behaved Child © 1999 by Ericka Lutz. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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