One of the most valuable lessons adults can teach children is how their behavior affects those around them. In discipline, the concept of consequences provides a valuable lesson, especially if it's handled correctly. If it's approached in a harsh manner a child may feel as if they're being punished. When it is not handled at all, a child may feel that adult('s) do not care.
Raising a child is a challenge, and making mistakes is part of our learning as adults in the lives of our children. After reading this article you'll be better equipped to implement consequences that meet the criteria called the 4R's. A consequence needs to show RESPECT for the child. If you can involve a child in the creation of a consequence it is usually accepted better. In showing respect, the concept of punishment is removed, because the child does not feel any of the following: fear, guilt, or shame. The consequence you choose must be REASONABLE. If I consequences too harsh or too long the child views it as punishment and does not learn from their mistake. Their energies are more focused on how unfair the adult is. In order to be effective, consequences must be RELATED to what the child did to be effective. If a child destroy something, they need to fix it or replace it. If a child hurt someone they need to help that person feel better. We all want RESPONSIBLE children that is exactly what consequences do. They teach responsibility for actions. It is not good to have a child "PAY" for a mistake. Instead, teach them to take responsibility for their part and right the wrong without punishment. Example: A child is nine years old and she steals something. She knows that stealing is wrong. Consequence Ineffective: Yell at her, take TV away from her for 2 months, never have her return what she took. Can you find the misuse of the four R's in this example? 1. Yelling is disrespectful. 2. Taking TV away for two months is not reasonable. 3. Taking TV away is not related. 4. Not return the item or paying for it shows no responsibility. An Effective Consequence: sit her down and ask her what she would like to say concerning the situation. 1. Explain that stealing is not tolerated. 2. Talk to her about breaking a trust and how she needs to earn your trust back by doing what she is supposed to do, checking in with you each time and staying in your sight. 3. Go with her to return or purchase what was taken, which she should pay for, or work for. 4. Of course she needs to be prepared to apologize to the manager of the store. In discipline the ideas of respect, reasonable, related, and responsibility take time and effort. Take more time today and you'll be happier tomorrow. Share this article with another concerned adult.