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Consequences Done Right

Updated: Nov 16, 2018


What is it that the parent want for their child? How best can the parent teach this to the child? This question has to be asked and many times; the answers are perplexing.

Connect what is important to your child and connect it with what is important to you. If the child wants what is important to him or her then they first must prioritize and do well what he/she knows is important to you. With connecting these then it is possible (with consistency and the requirement of a job well done) and repeated appliance of the reinforcement then the child becomes more apt to comply. The child also knows that should he/she choose not to do the required goal with heart and responsible work-then the child will receive a negative reinforcer. (not receiving their object of their goal) and possibly, if the child does not respond with better choices and just accepts the absence of their wants; or if the child finds a way to get time with their wants/goals even if he/she cannot at home-then the parent would need to add another negative consequence.


Sometimes the consequence is already doubled when the choice is negative due to natural consequences of that choice. For instance, not doing homework will receive poor grades; coupled with their not getting the objective or goal. With this the parent would need to speak with the child. "What will happen if you do not pass this grade?" "Is this worth your choice of not applying yourself to your responsibility of work?", "What would have been a better choice? " "What can be done to repair the damage done?" These questions and like questions allow the child to think of the immediate and future needs; and also of options that may be better to choose. Diagnosing the problem and locating a solution provides the child the ability to discern, a life skill-and character building ability.


Children observe parents as they work through problems and often mimic this technique. If parents lie to cover up, make excuses, manipulate, or blame-then the child often will learn how to use these negative behaviors. If the parent speaks out loud, listing several options to consider; then speaks of the possible short term and long term benefits vs the consequences; as the parent then decides upon the best solution for the situation with the most benefits, while staying true to themselves, while enacting higher ethical standards, and with the least consequences-then the child learns how to discern their own situations.


Consequences need to address the situation and not be too small or overly done so as to balance with the disobedience. "Why, What, When, How, Where, and With who-questions are important as parents locate the child's thoughts and wants, or expectations-and to know how much planning occurred with the situation so as to be better able to apply the balanced consequence. Parents need to listen, acknowledge the child's point of view and respect why they thought or felt as they did-while then asking them to describe the negative results. Did their choice violate trust or their character? Did their choice violate others? Was their goal worth the cost? Parents then calmly empathize yet stand firmly on the consequence and the prayer for guidance and wisdom for their children.


Heal and Hope Counseling Services provide certified parenting classes and individual counseling for marriage and family issues. There are a number or parenting strategies per child; due to differences of each child. Parents and the clinician then work together to effect change.

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Glyndora Condon MS MFT LPC is here to help.

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