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Guiding Behavior With Natural Consequences

by Tania Cowling | August 31st, 2016 | Behavior, Elementary

7-8-year-old-eating-a-sandwich-at-homeAs your child’s main teacher, you are a guide helping your youngster develop self-discipline. You must think about goals for your child’s behavior. For me, I wanted my children to make good decisions and be respectful for the feelings of others. I wanted them to learn and continue to use behaviors that would allow them to develop talents and abilities.

Parents need to teach kids that there are consequences in life – things do not always go the way they want. Kids must learn from their actions, and sometimes disciplinary consequences may arise from poor behavior. The most important thing I’ve learned about discipline is to make sure your child understands what he has done wrong and the punishment should be related to the crime. I decided to do a parent round up for this article. Here are a few examples.

Tracy says, “We take away the thing that is causing a problem. If the child is acting out or hurting someone, they have to sincerely apologize and make it better. If the kids break something, they fix it. If they make a mess, they clean it. And, if they hurt someone, they get ice/bandage and pamper the person until the hurt person feels better. Until the fix is completed, they are grounded.”

Nancy uses positive reinforcement and supported her daughter in the things she loves to do without condition. No attention for being naughty (no yelling, screaming, hitting, etc.) but lots of attention for being good. Kids have to learn self-control. Once her daughter threw a fit while in a store shopping. They were supposed to go out to dinner after that. Well, after the tantrum, she escorted her to the car without trauma and drove directly home. Her daughter wanted to know why they didn’t go for supper. Nancy told her that she apparently didn’t know how to listen and behave, so instead of a dinner date, she can have a sandwich at home instead. A lesson learned!

Donna was watching her tween grandchild who didn’t like having a bedtime and fussed about it. Donna still insisted that she get up at a reasonable hour, as school was about to start soon. When the grandchild complained about how tired she was, Donna told her it was her own choice that made her so tired. “You want to stay up all night then you need to own the consequence of being so tired, but you still have a responsibility to get up early.”

Paul feels that parents must be good role models. For example, you can’t ask your kids not to use a phone during dinner while you are using one yourself. And Jeanne totally agrees with this. She also feels that parents must let their kids take their own falls at times, rather than constantly rescuing them. People learn from mistakes.

Theresa states the bottom line to this story. Consequences have to be clearly stated beforehand and then uniformly applied when needed. If these consequences aren’t clear, kids want to argue or negotiate their way out. If a parent relaxes the consequence, this undermines your authority.

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