Have a question, concern or problem regarding your child's behaviors? Send me an email and I will do a blog post about it! You will always remain anonymous! tkmiller81002@yahoo.com

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How to give logical Consequences

Ok now that you understand what a logical consequence is I am going to explain to you the best way to give a logical consequences. The first thing to remember is that you are not trying to punish your kid, but are teaching them to accept responsibility for their actions. This is key because when our goal is to punish our kids we tend to have the attitude of "I'll show them whose boss" and when we look at it as a way of teaching we are kinder, and tend to be more respectful to our kids and for me I find it easier to come up with consequences when I am using it as a teaching moment.

The next thing that is key is to be respectful, when you are yelling the consequence at your kid they are probably feeling unloved and like their opinion doesn't matter. I am far from perfect, but I try really hard to not yell at my kids - but I am the first to admit that when I am really frustrated I do yell but you will also always see me apologize to my kids for yelling at them and telling them that it is my fault I yelled not theirs.

On that note it is all about the approach and the way you phrase a logical consequence that makes all the difference. Take a look at the two different approaches to the following misbehavior.

Misbehavior: Jill leaves her toys lying all around the house and doesn't pick them up.
Approach 1: Mom says "Jill, pick up these toys right now or they are going in the garage!"
Approach 2: "Jill, you can either pick up your toys yourself or else I am going to pick them up and put them in the garage. It's up to you."

Which approach do you think is the most effective way to give a logical consequence - the second one! You always want to use either/or choices or when/then choices because it puts all of the power in the kids hands, which is where we want it to be! An example of a when/then choice would be: Johnny wants to play outside but his room is a mess so you say: "when your room is clean then you can go outside and play."

We also want to involve our kids in choosing the consequences as often as possible. My in-laws did a form of this when their kids were growing up and it made for some pretty hilarious stories. Here are a few of them that you might find amusing as well:
1. My sister in law said that if she didn't clean her room her mom could poor water on her head. Some friends of hers were going to the mall and she wanted to go, even though her room wasn't clean, and as she was walking out to the car her mom came running out with a pitcher of water and dumped it on her head in front of her friends - she then chose to clean her room.
2. My brother in law said that if he didn't clean the bathroom he would sleep in the bathtub, he didn't clean the bathroom so to the bathtub he went to sleep!

Now those aren't really what a professional would call "logical consequences" but they worked for that family, and that is what matters most. None of us have cookie cutter lives and what works for my family might not work for yours, the important thing is that you find a way that does work and teaches responsibility not punishes!

Which brings me to the next step - ONLY GIVE A CHOICE YOU CAN LIVE WITH! It doesn't do you any good to punish yourself with the consequence given to a kid. I have a friend who always threatens their kid "either do this or you don't get to go . . . " and all that does is punish both a kid and a parent because now the parent doesn't get to go either! If you can't live with a messy house don't give them the consequence to not clean up after them, if you can't handle your kids going to bed without dinner don't give them that as a consequence.

Finally make sure you always follow through because your kids are going to test you! State the consequence one time and then if they choose not to do what is expected dish out the consequence. Kids will test you to see what you are going to do all the time, they want to know how much they can get away with so if you tell them that when their room is clean they can go outside and play, but you get tired of them crying about cleaning their room so you cave and say fine go play outside - well guess what next time they are definitely not going to clean their room. Now on the other hand if you say, I know you don't want to clean and that's o.k. it just means you can't go outside then depending on how badly they want to play outside will determine how quickly their room gets cleaned. I always reinforce to them when giving their consequence that they chose it, not me and that I am not the bad guy and hopefully the next time they will make a different choice. In this way I am not the bad guy, I am just the enforcer of rules.

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