Consequences generally come in two forms. Natural consequences are the natural result of an incorrect choice, for example, refusing to put on a sweatshirt means being cold. Parent-driven consequences are enforced by you after your child commits a rule infraction, such as suspending certain privileges. Consistency is essential so the same rule infraction earns the same consequence each time.
Everyone in your family deserves to be treated kindly and with respect. Children who violate the rule are rightfully subject to consequences. While your initial reaction might be to yell at your child when she calls her sister a mean name, the best consequence is one that models a better choice, according to parenting website AskDrSears. For example, have the offending child apologize and provide an explanation of what she'll do differently next time she's tempted to call her sister a name. In addition, you could also require her to make three nice statements to her sister after apologizing for the original offense.
Your children's cooperation is essential to teaching responsibility and alleviating your workload. Refusing to cooperate can initiate a parent-enforced consequence. The most effective consequences are connected to the infraction itself, according to Anita Gurian of the NYU Child Development Center. For example, when your child refuses to pick up her toys, withhold those same toys 24 hours. Corrective consequences are another option. If your child leaves the door wide open after racing outside, insist that she return and close the door immediately.
Allowing natural consequences means letting your child experience the consequences of her actions, or misbehavior, without intervening. For example, if the rule is your seventh-grader must deposit her dirty clothing in the hamper, and after one warning she refuses to do so, the natural consequence is not having clean clothing for the next day. This technique certainly isn't appropriate for truly dangerous circumstances, such as letting your toddler stick her finger in a hot oven.
Whether it's running into the road or sliding down the banister, certain safety infractions require immediate consequences for the child's own protection. Because stopping the safety infraction is a clear need, a logical consequence might be several corrective replays. According to AskDrSears.com, requiring your child to replay or rewind the scene three or four times for each infraction provides a consequence as well as a model of what to do next time. For example, if your child slides down the banister, she must walk back up and down the stairs three times.
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