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The Big List of Consequences

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Consequences for Kids

Parental disapproval
In the context of a loving parent-child relationship, parental disapproval is often the most motivating of consequences. When kids think to themselves why they should choose to not do something wrong, it's usually because their parent would disapprove, not because they will have to go to time-out. Parental disapproval does not mean shaming however, and it's good to keep in mind the adage to criticize the behavior, not the person.

Time-out
Time-out is a good consequence on a number of levels. It gives both of you a cooling-off period and avoids escalation to pointless, angry arguments. It is also a form of social isolation and as such, teaches that in order to participate in the social group, you must follow certain social behaviors (such as not hitting your brother in the face).

Removal of possessions such as toy, game, bicycle, TV
It hurts and it's meant to give the child the time to think about their misbehavior through a feeling of loss. That's why it's important to not allow the child to simply replace that possession with something else that is pleasurable. If they don't feel the loss, they don't learn the lesson. In cases of serious misbehavior that is not responding to consequences, removal of ALL toys and possessions may be called for. In this case, children earn back their bicycle, TV, etc. through excellent behavior.

Removal of privileges such as watching TV, having a friend over, going on an outing
These are the short-term consequences that we give children when they misbehave. The common term is 'grounding'. Grounding is most effective when you follow the guidelines above. The child should be warned that they will be grounded if a specific misbehavior is repeated; it should be for a single outing or very short time period; and when it's given, you should follow through.

Making amends
There is a healing experience for the offender when he makes amends for his wrongdoing. Things are made right and that is a powerful learning effect for a simple consequence.

Replacing a broken or lost object by earning money or working it off
Related to making amends, when a child damages or loses their own possession, the natural consequence is that they don't have it anymore. When it is someone else's possession, they should learn that restitution is the right thing to do. This isn't punishment, it's simply the way the world works.

Saying 'I'm sorry'
Also related to making amends, saying 'I'm sorry' feels like punishment to some of us, but what a valuable lesson we learn when we find forgiveness and reparation of a relationship through the words, 'I'm sorry.'

Confession
Even harder than saying 'I'm sorry', confession is more powerful because it requires us to acknowledge to ourselves and then to state to another person what we did wrong. Confession is the opposite of lying to prevent punishment; and therefore, it should be rewarded. But, confession doesn't erase the need to make amends or face other consequences of wrongdoing.

Early bedtime
A quick consequence for times when the child seems to lose control. Since the misbehavior may very well be related to tiredness or overstimulation, early bedtime addresses this problem and gives everyone a break from a bad situation.

Check marks on a card with different levels of loss of privileges
This is the tool you will see in many elementary classrooms and parents can learn a lesson from the teachers' approach. It's a graduated consequence tool that is concrete and in front of the child all the time. She knows where she is on the card system and can take steps to moderate her behavior to prevent the escalation of consequences. Hmmm. Learning to control her own behavior, now that's what discipline is all about.

Extra chore
Oh how I love this one! It's especially good for older kids who know how to do the chore on their own. They may do it in a huff because it's certainly no fun, but it gets the point across that you will not let misbehavior slide.

Giving up tokens in a behavior modification plan
Behavior modification plans are good ways to define your rules and expectations and teach self-discipline and structure. Some plans call for charts and stickers. I like using tokens that are earned or lost based on the child's compliance with the family's rules and expecations.

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