September 3, 2007

Logical Consequences

When you discipline it’s vital to be consistent. Consistency shows your child that you are serious and dependable. Discipline is not effective unless it’s done consistently.

In order to be consistent you need to have a plan. Without a plan you will simply react when your child misbehaves. Yelling, threatening and not following through with consequences are not effective. “No video games for a week” might be uttered in the afternoon but an exception will be made an hour later.

With a plan, you will react differently and your discipline will be more effective. Your plan should include consequences. Consequences enforce the rules, make a child accountable for his actions and help the child learn and change. A consequence is related to the behavior and must outweigh the pleasure of the disobedient act.

For example, a seven year old is tormenting his sister. The parent says, “Since you are not treating others kindly, I’m canceling your play date with Brian this afternoon.”

Consequences need to be different for each child. Once you find a consequence that works you can almost guarantee that after a period of time it will no longer be effective and you will have to find another one. Consequences will also need to be altered as your child gets older.

Spend time discussing the rules and expectations with your child. Spell them out and stick with them. Children will follow a rule better if you have explained why you have the rule.

Finding consequences that work requires time and thought. The investment in effective, fair discipline is crucial to your child’s growth and the dividends will be great.

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