Does your child ignore every consequence you give him? I am excited to share this last tip from an article by James Lehman, MSW at Empowering Parents which gives you some specific ways to make consequences work—even for the most resistant child.
Here’s the conclusion from James Lehman, MSW, “How to Give Consequences So They’ll Stick—Even When Kids Say They Don’t Care” . . .
Don’t Show Disgust or Disdain
When giving consequences to your child, I think you should be consistent and firm, but don’t show disgust or disdain. In my opinion, you should never be sarcastic with your child because it’s wounding. What you’re trying to do is raise someone who can function, not somebody who feels they’re a constant disappointment to you.
It’s very important to shape your behavior so that your child knows you’re not taking his mistakes personally. Remember, the look on your face and the tone of your voice communicates a lot more to your child than your words do. Positive regard is critical for getting your message across.
I think it’s important to remember that life is really a struggle for many kids. Going to school is difficult, both academically and socially, and there is tremendous pressure on children and teens to perform today. Personally, I think that kids should be recognized and respected for that.
Think of it this way: what you’re really trying to do is work on your child’s behavior to get him to try to do different things. So if your child misbehaves and you ground him from everything indefinitely, you’re losing sight of all the other things he did right—and he will, too.
Instead, we want to look at inappropriate behavior as a mistake your child makes. Parents often wonder why their kids make the same mistakes over and over, and I say, “Well, they do that because they’re kids. They’re not pretending. They perceive things very differently than adults do.”
We want our kids to learn, so we use the things they enjoy as leverage to teach them better behavior. After all, giving your child a consequence until he shows you he can do better is an effective tool you have at your disposal at all times—even if he tells you he doesn’t care.
Thank you so much to James Lehman, MSW, for his insights into how to navigate consequences that matter!
Parents – what’s your experience with giving children consequences that count? I would love to hear your questions, comments, opinions, especially your experiences! Please let me know what you think by clicking here to post a comment.