Natural consequences are pretty simple if your child has done something that they were not supposed to do. It can be difficult to figure out what to do when they failed at something they should have done, like chores. It can be tempting to just take away TV time, but this approach will need a little bit of fine tuning. When you tell your child, “If you do not sort the laundry, then the will be no TV.” the connection between doing the chore and no TV is not apparent. Using the phrase, “If you do not…” makes it sound like a threat, so they will think that the point is to make them pay for not doing what you asked. However, you can turn it into a logical consequence by saying, “When you have finished sorting the laundry then you may watch TV.” By putting it this way you get the principle across that you would probably like your kids to live by. Do what you have to do before you do what you want to do. Your child may end up missing their favorite show that night and not be able to talk about it with his friends the next day, but once he has finished his chore he will see the natural consequence of enjoying a fun activity more because there is no chore hanging over his head. Another thing that you can emphasize is that with privilege comes responsibility. Our family rule is that all toys must be where they belong at the end of the day and any toy left laying around could be headed to the garbage. If you do not want to be that drastic, you can just take it and put it in a box in another room and return them when your child shows he can clean up his other toys. This is not only effective for material privileges, but also for the non tangible ones. If your child can not handle the responsibility of playing nicely with his brothers and sisters, then he loses the privilege of playing with them. When he does not speak to you respectfully, then he does not get the privilege of being listened to. Instead of saying, “Don’t you dare speak to me that way.” Calmly tell him when he is ready to speak respectfully, then I will be in my room. This technique is just as powerful when your child does something right. My son asked if he could play his video games for 10 minutes before we had to leave. I decided to give him a chance, and told him that if he held up his end of the bargain that I would let him do it in the future. To my surprise when it was time to go, he turned his game off and put his shoes on. It has now become routine around our house. Parents often overlook the simplest strategies: Tell the truth. If your child has been misbehaving all day and asks if we could go out for ice cream, say what you are thinking. I really don’t like taking you for ice cream. The lesson here is when you do wrong to people, they are unlikely to go above and beyond for you. See our post on using the 3 R’s.

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