Finding proper consequences for kids is challenging enough, but what if you think of the perfect consequence and your child doesn’t care to listen anyway? Here are some tips to help you get out of this difficult situation.
Is there anything more infuriating than trying to discipline a child who doesn’t care about the rules you set and consequences that follow?
The good news is, there are a few different reasons that children do not respect the consequence, and sometimes (i’m sorry to say) it could be your fault.
But let’s not dwell on that, let’s fix it!
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7 Questions To Ask Yourself Regarding The Situation
Is It A Punishment Or A Consequence?
When you’ve set up a consequence for your child and they don’t seem to care about it, ask yourself if you’ve set up a punishment or a consequence.
There is a difference.
Consequences help children learn from their mistakes while punishment addresses past behavior and makes the child work OFF something they did wrong.
So if you’re asking yourself why your child doesn’t care about the consequence you set, perhaps it was a punishment and perhaps that punishment has been used too many times in the past and is ineffective.
Is The Consequence Too Simple?
There is a chance that your child no longer cares about the consequence because it doesn’t make a difference to them at all if you follow through or not.
An effective consequence should be something that children will understand through and through. If you set up a rule in the house such as brushing teeth before going to sleep, and your child doesn’t follow through, the consequence should be super related to the incident.
For example, you can let your child know what happens to children who do not brush their teeth properly on a daily basis can develop cavities that do need to get fixed by a dentist in the future. Dental visits should be a nice experience and we don’t want to scare our kids about going to the dentist, but you can still let them know that these kinds of things are not that pleasant and can be avoided if teeth are brushed regularly.
Most children will cooperate once they understand what the natural consequence of not brushing the teeth is.
Is The Discipline Too Harsh?
Sometimes parents get a little angry, it’s normal to get heated when your kids aren’t listening.
Banning the video games for a whole month because you saw your child jumping on the couch which is a no-no in the home, is a little harsh, don’t you agree?
The punishment has to fit the crime.
If you catch your child jumping on the couch and they aren’t allowed to do so, then perhaps a better consequence should be to lose whatever they are doing while the are doing the jumping.
For example, if they are jumping and watching tv, then maybe it’s time to turn the tv off until the child calms down.
Does The Consequence Have An Objective?
A consequence needs to be related to the “crime” and should be teaching your child a lesson.
Consequences are not about using negative punishment, but are all about positive discipline.
For example, if your child continues to speak in a disrespectful tone, a punishment would sound like; “Don’t you dare speak to me like that, no more seeing your friends for two weeks!”
A consequence would be “I really do not appreciate you talking to me like that. If you would like to see your friends this weekend, please speak to me respectfully.”
Is My Child Too Angry To Care?
In the heat of the moment, a child may just be too angry to understand the consequence.
Give your little one some space, and let the consequence sink in. “making” they care about the consequence isn’t good for anyone, so just let it be, and don’t forget about the consequence you set.
Is The Consequence Right For That Child?
All children are very different and what works for one child may not work for another.
When setting up a consequence, ensure that you are tailoring the consequence to the personality of the child who needs it.
Maybe The Actually Do Care…
Some children may put on the “I don’t care act” but they really do care about the consequence.
Make sure you keep following through and eventually things will get better. Don’t give up!
Types Of Consequences For Kids
I’m a big fan of natural consequences because they work so well with the whole authoritative parenting style that I follow.
There are also Logical consequences and contrived consequences.
Here is an excellent resource to learn deeply about the 3 types of consequences.
Related: How To Instill Confidence In Kids
Creating Consequences That Work (The One Tip You NEED To Hear)
Coming up with rash consequences in the heat of the moment is a pretty standard parenting thing that we all do.
When you say something like ” That’s it! We are not going to the beach today.”
Do you really mean it? Are you going to stop the whole family from enjoying the day because one child did something..? Probably not.
And your kids know it.
If you ask your child to do something such as pick up the garbage around the house, and they don’t do it you will do one of three things:
- Get mad
- Do it yourself
- Letting your child come up with the consequence
Believe it or not, option 3 actually works.
Ask your child what you think should happen if they choose to not pick up garbage around the house?
Your child will likely come up with a consequence such as “no TV before dinner if I don’t pick up the garbage by 11am.”
So there you have it, your child has until 11 am to pick up the garbage around the house and if they don’t do it, they know exactly what will happen. This is a great way for your child to not get upset with you for setting up yet another punishment.
The likelihood of your child not completing the task is extremely small now because you bet your buttons they want some of that TV time before dinner. (This is when I allow it because I like to cook in peace!)
Why Does This Self Set Punishment Work?
It works because it is memorable, created by the child themselves and it’s very clear.
Your child created the consequence, so they remember what it is. They worked hard to come up with the consequence so they will respect it and they know exactly what to expect if the rule is broken. It’s all very clear.
You can give your child a hand to come up with consequences, they don’t need to do it all on their own, especially if they are pretty young, and you have to agree to the consequence too.
The consequence still has to fit the crime, so make sure your child comes up with something suitable.
PS: This is an easy chore system if you have children who like to whine and complain and try to get out of their chores constantly.
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