Whether there are positive or negative consequences to your child’s behavior, these consequences are necessary for each child to learn and grow.
As parents, we try to protect our children from harm. Does that truly interfere with them having the consequence of their behavior? Do we take their learning a lesson for granted by protecting them from the necessary consequence so they do not get hurt or we do not hurt their feelings? This is something, as a parent, we really need to think about.
Children need negative consequences if they do something wrong, hurtful, disrespectful, etc. If you try to protect them from that consequence, how are they supposed to learn that very important lesson?
Let’s talk about an example. I listen to several parents every time I am shopping, at a restaurant, or at a public event. I always hear parents say, “Behave yourself or else we are going to leave!” “Stop doing that, or else we are going back home!” Alright, so the child is misbehaving, what exactly is the child doing that he/she is misbehaving? Is that child clear on their misbehavior? Shouldn’t that child be given the chance to know what it is that he/she is doing inappropriately that needs to be changed? In addition, the parents acknowledge that there is no change in the behavior and now they do not even leave.
Okay, so the child is possibly not clear on the misbehavior OR doesn’t want to change his/her behavior, but doesn’t stop what they are doing. What is worse is that you DO NOT give them the consequence that you have been telling them for several minutes or for a period of time. Mmmmm, who is wrong here?
Parents, you should not be saying a consequence to your child if they will not get that consequence. Think of something you can actually follow through with if their behavior doesn’t change. If you say things you will not do or are not willing to do, then your child probably already knows that from their previous actions. This will NOT change their behavior the next time, but will only make it worse from this day forward.
On the other hand, the positive consequence needs to be given as well. I hear parents say, “If you sit quietly and eat your lunch, then we will be able to visit Grandma after this.” I’m thinking… I hope after this they are truly going to visit their Grandma if that is something the child really looks forward to doing.
ALL consequences need to be followed through so the child understands that there are consequences to all of their behavior, good or bad. Don’t say something that you know in your heart you will not do or can’t possibly make happen.
I remember when my daughter hated being in the car seat and always made trips to places a nightmare. One day we had to go to this event and I could not take her screaming anymore, so I pulled over and told her that I need her to stop screaming to be able to drive to this event. She stopped and told me she wouldn’t any longer, so I proceeded to drive again. A couple of minutes later, she started screaming again. I then decided to go back home. As much as I didn’t want to drive back home, I knew that I had to do what I said I was going to do. As soon as she saw where we were, she looked at me with amazement. I said, “I told you that I couldn’t drive to this event with you screaming and that we would have to go back home.” She stopped crying and looked at me with shock and surprise. We went back into the house. She was quiet the rest of that day until she fell asleep. Every time, from that day forward, when she started screaming in the car, I told her the same thing. Eventually, through constant driving back home a few times, she did stop screaming in the car seat when we went had to go somewhere.
Parenting takes a lot of persistence, consistency, and hard work each and every day! It is definitely not easy.
Do you have a positive or negative story to share…let’s hear it! Comment below, I would love to hear about it!