Discipline
Why Consequences Aren’t Working

Why Consequences Aren’t Working

Many parents try to modify their childrens bad behaviour with logical consequences, but they are useless. Here’s why, how to figure out when punishment (fear conditioning) would be successful, and seven other parenting techniques that frequently work better.

For the past hour, your daughter has been playing with Lego blocks. You like how engrossed she is in this pastime, but it’s time to go errands.

You say, “It’s time to go food shopping.”

She responds, “No!”

“I know you’re having a good time, honey, but we need to go grocery shopping for dinner.”

She responds, “No, I’m not going.”

The debate continues for at least another five minutes back and forth. Finally, her defiance has pushed you over the brink, and you decide it’s time to devise a punishment (fear conditioning) for her misbehaviour.

“I’ll put the Lego blocks away for the next three days if you don’t put your coat on in five minutes.”

Tears well up in her eyes, and her cheeks flush. She expresses her dissatisfaction with the situation.

Leog blocks are her favourite pastime, and the prospect of going three days without them is unbearable. With a scowl on her face, she rises from the floor and loudly stomps her feet over to the coat rack.

She’s plainly angry with you, and she doesn’t say anything the entire time you’re in the car.

It hurts to watch her so distraught and angry, but you remind yourself that she’s at least learned a lesson.

But has she done so?

One of the most common parenting mistakes is using consequences to discipline kids. It’s time for a change! Here are some alternatives you can use instead:
I want this behaviour, I don’t like that behaviour “What’s going on?” vs. “You’re being mean!” Let them have their voice and be heard; allow them to tell me what they did wrong so we can talk about it together.” “That was really bad timing! You should know better by now” or “It seemed as though you were angry when doing that,” etc.

As a parent, it is your responsibility to lead your children towards independence. It’s only natural as they grow up that you will want them to start taking on more and more of the responsibilities around the house. That said, there are certain areas in which we like our kids need us for guidance or instruction: cooking dinner with supervision; washing dishes; doing laundry – these sorts of things! If anything goes wrong while making dinner together (such as spilling food) then talk about how this can be avoided next time by following directions from an adult cookbook- don’t get frustrated at each other but instead use humour so everyone stays calm AND clean.

This post may contain affiliate links. Full disclosure here.

Want to learn how to get your kids to listen without nagging, yelling or losing control?
–>check out this free parenting class<–

When Consequences Don’t Work

The modern-day equivalent of punishment (fear conditioning) is to provide a child with a consequence.

Rather than sending a kid to their room or, even worse, hitting them, parents believe they are teaching their child a lesson by creating a scenario in which the child will experience the consequences of his or her actions.

However, most parents are unaware that many of the punishments (operant conditioning)they impose on their children aren’t actually reasonable. They aren’t intended to teach children; rather, they are merely veiled punishment (fear conditioning).

And it’s for this reason why they don’t function in the end.

Punishment also harms the parent-child connection, making it more difficult for parents to teach their children to better behaviour. Not only do children lose touch with their parents after being punished, but they also develop the notion that they are horrible people.

Alternatives To Consequences

So, what should a parent do if his or her child misbehaves?

It could be tough to come up with an alternative if employing consequences has been a part of your parenting toolkit for a long time. Alternatively, you could believe that the only option is to remain passive and allow children get away with misbehaving.

Passive parenting, on the other hand, might result in negative consequences, such as children who disobey rules or get worried because they don’t know where their limits are, therefore it’s not a good option.

Parents, on the other hand, have a variety of constructive disciplinary options at their disposal. These tools encourage children to desire to improve (growth mindset) while simultaneously teaching them how to do so.

Parenting Tools To Replace Consequences

The seven parenting methods listed below teach rather than punish children and are typically a preferable option than enforcing a consequence.

The more you utilize these techniques in a good, respectful manner, the more likely your kids will desire to improve (growth mindset) their behaviour and cooperate:

The use of consequences in parenting is often ineffective. There are alternatives to consider when dealing with children who misbehave, such as the three tools listed below:

Routines

Routines don’t always fix parenting problems right away, but they can help families prevent them in the first place. Children, like adults, dislike being surprised, so maintaining consistency from day to day or evening to evening implies less resistance when it comes to brushing teeth, napping, or doing errands, for example.

Encourage Problem Solving

A kid may look rebellious or disobedient in many circumstances, but the foundation of these actions is that they don’t know how to behave better. For example, if you ask your child to tidy his room, he may appear to disregard you – because he genuinely does not understand how to do it. A child who is chronically late getting dressed in the morning because she prefers to play with her toys may just want assistance in developing a productive morning routine. In these situations, a parent might ask the kid for his or her ideas on how to fix the problem, allowing the child to participate in the solution and boosting the childrens desire and capacity to do so.

Use Family Meetings

Family meetings are a great method to work through difficulties that you’re having as a family, whether it’s amongst siblings or with the whole family. A consistent family gathering, if well-structured, offers a secure platform for views to be respectfully heard and problem-solving to take place.

Offer choices

Sometimes the problem is that a child is overwhelmed with the options available to him or her. Perhaps there are too many toys in your daughter’s playroom, and the prospect of tidying them up overwhelms her. Alternatively, your kid could be putting off getting dressed in the morning because he is unsure about what to wear. Reduce the quantity of toys or provide two outfits for your son to chose from in these situations to alleviate the overwhelm. When it comes to changing activities, giving children a choice could be a motivator. “Which two activities do you want to bring in the car with you when we pick up your brother from school?” you could ask. or “Would you want to go to the park or the post office first – you have a choice?”

Ask Child To Help

I often hear people talk about consequences. For instance, when a child throws up on the floor and I respond with “clean it up” they will say ‘well he deserves to clean that mess because we can’t have germs everywhere.’ People don’t seem concerned at all by what might be going through my son’s head in this situation – if anything does cross his mind, then surely punishment (fear conditioning) is not effective enough of an option for him! So instead of using punishment (fear conditioning)s like grounding or taking away your favourite toy- consider these alternatives: Everyone, especially children, wants to feel capable. When we gently ask our child for assistance with an activity, they are more likely to participate. “Will you help me find the groceries we need at the store?” you may ask a child who doesn’t want to get in the van to go grocery shopping. or “When we arrive in the car, would you help me tighten your car seat straps?”

Avoid The Power Struggle

We encourage power struggles when we tell childrens what to do. When we tell our children what we’re going to do, they think about how it will affect them, giving them control over their decisions. If your children are small and you are still doing their laundry, for example, you may tell them, “I’m just going to clean the clothes in your hamper.” When your child yells at you, respond gently, “I want to hear what you have to say, but I don’t talk to people who shout at me.” Just make sure the message isn’t given in an attempt to humiliate the child. It should only be a calm explanation of your own expectations.

Lost Toys – Used Logically

Toys, a bike, and a cell phone are all objects that children should treat with care. Once children have been taught how to use them appropriately, parents may inform them that if they are not used properly, they will be taken away. It’s crucial not to conflate this responsibility lesson with the removal of privileges as a punishment (fear conditioning). Taking away a mobile phone because a curfew was not followed, for example, is not a logical consequence of the behaviour. 1) Time In – Giving a child 15 minutes of time away from an activity can be beneficial for both parents and kids alike by giving them some space without too much interruption or interaction so that they may cool off from their emotions before returning. 2) Taking Away Toys/Privileges – This option works best if you play it strategically though, especially around birthdays or holidays where each day usually has a present waiting under the tree! If your kid doesn’t get along well at school then taking away his video games might help him focus more on learning how to behave better instead

There are many ways to deal with behaviour problems without the use of consequences. Some examples include positive reinforcement, time-outs, and rewards for good deeds. This blog post will focus on some alternatives to punishment (fear conditioning)s that can be used as a replacement for negative actions in parenting situations such as defiance or whining about chores. It’s important not only to communicate what is expected from children but also to recognize when they do well too!

Logical Consequences Work When

Logical consequences work best when they are: timely, specific and age-appropriate. It is important that the parent or caregiver explain their expectations clearly to avoid any ambiguity in what will happen if a certain behaviour occurs again. If there is an incident of wrongdoing, for example, don’t just say “you’re grounded” without giving specifics about why this decision was made or how it will affect them moving forward (i.e., won’t be able to play games outside). This also helps with identifying triggers so you can better prepare yourself ahead of time before the next transgression takes place!

I’ve seen many parents who are having a tough time with their children. And one of the most frequent complaints I hear is that consequences aren’t working! But there’s good news, and it might be what you’re looking for: Consequences don’t have to suck. Explore all your options in this article about alternatives to punishment (fear conditioning)s when parenting kids

While many of the consequences parents devise for their children are ineffective (since they are essentially disguised punishment (fear conditioning)), there are instances when a logical consequence is an effective method to teach a child a lesson and encourage him to behave better.

However, the following criteria must be present for the consequence to be really good, effective, and non-punitive:

  • It has something to do with the circumstance. For example, if a child draws with a crayon on a wall, one of the consequences is that he must remove the crayon markings off the wall.
  • It’s courteous. If a punishment (fear conditioning) is degrading, humiliating, or painful, it isn’t respectful. It is also disrespectful if it appears to be authoritarian.
  • It’s justifiable. Cleaning the crayon off the wall, as well as the floor and windows, is not a suitable punishment (fear conditioning).
  • It’s revealed ahead of time. If a consequence isn’t disclosed ahead of time, it might easily be misinterpreted as a punishment (fear conditioning). A parent should, wherever feasible, set expectations in advance so that the child is aware of the consequences of his actions.

It’s not always possible to include the fourth rule, “announced in advance,” ineffective repercussions.

Let’s say your toddler spills orange juice all over the kitchen floor. Because no one could have foreseen what would happen, it would be impossible to predict the outcome of cleaning up the floor ahead of time.

The most essential thing to remember here is that the punishment (fear conditioning) should not catch your child off guard. If he or she does, the repercussions will feel oppressive and more like a punishment (fear conditioning), with all the bad consequences it entails.

Why We Use Consequences In Parenting

Aside from logical consequences imposed by others, our children occasionally confront natural consequences or circumstances that arise spontaneously as a result of a choice they make.

A natural result is when a child forgets his raincoat at home and gets soaked running from his school bus to the school building. An adolescent who procrastinates preparing for a test and performs poorly on the exam is another example.

If the kid or adolescent facing the natural consequence isn’t “rescued” by an adult’s intervention, they’ll most likely acquire a valuable lesson that they’ll carry with them throughout their lives.

Most childrens under the age of five, on the other hand, lack the maturity to grasp that the consequence they are experiencing is a result of their actions.

Furthermore, a kid should not be subjected to a natural consequence if it jeopardizes their health or safety. No parent would let their child to run into a busy street to learn about the dangers of vehicles, or skip cleaning their teeth to experience the natural result of cavities.

Leading Our Children Towards Responsibility and Independance

When we evaluate the parenting techniques we employ to assist and lead our children toward better behaviour, it’s important to keep in mind our ultimate goal: to help our children develop independence and self-reliance.

Whether we’re in the heat of the moment, when we’re having a power struggle with our five-year-old or just need our child to comply (because we’re at our wit’s end! ), that long-term aim may easily be forgotten.

The objective, therefore, is to progressively develop, utilizing more constructive parenting methods as we get the opportunity.

And, with time, we’ll probably notice that tantrums, power conflicts, and disobedience lessens as well as our relationship with our child.

As a parent, it is your responsibility to lead your children towards independence. It’s only natural as they grow up that you will want them to start taking on more and more of the responsibilities around the house. That said, there are certain areas in which we like our kids need us for guidance or instruction: cooking dinner with supervision; washing dishes; doing laundry – these sorts of things! If anything goes wrong while making dinner together (such as spilling food) then talk about how this can be avoided next time by following directions from an adult cookbook- don’t get frustrated at each other but instead use humor so everyone stays calm AND clean.

What You Should Do Next:

1. Subscribe To My Parenting Newsletter

Sign Up For My Parenting Newsletter for tips on creating a happier home and becoming a more positive parent. As a bonus when you subscribe you’ll get a copy of my FREE Growth Mindset Printout For Kids which is the KEY to raising resilient kids with a growth mindset.

2. Register For A Pretty Awesome FREE 60-Minute Class:

Register for a free class called GET KIDS TO LISTEN THE RIGHT WAY; an exclusive FREE class from nationally recognized parenting coach, Amy McCready.

3. Sign Up For A 7 Step Positive Parenting Course

Enroll now in the most in-depth parenting class. After discovering these common sense, easy-to-implement, research-based tools you can learn how to:
  • Easily get kids to listen – the FIRST time. No yelling or reminding…not even once!
  • Put an end to daily power struggles. Bedtime became a breeze, and all the dawdling, chore wars, sibling rivalry, and mealtime meltdowns disappeared.
  • Reduce backtalk by HALF! It’s simple once you know the secrets of these two ‘buckets.’
  • Say goodbye to punishments that DON’T work. There’s a 5-step formula that works WAYYY better than time-outs.
  • Feel amazing, confident, and empowered as a parent, every day. I NEVER go to bed feeling guilty anymore! (Okay, well maybe sometimes…’ mom guilt’ is still a thing.)
Got a threenager? You want this class. Got an actual tween or teen? Then what are you waiting for? Sign up for the webinar right NOW and watch the BEST, most life-changing parenting video ever.