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How To How to Give Effective Consequences for Misbehavior


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The purpose of discipline is to teach self-control and self-discipline. Using effective consequences can break the cycle of non-compliance by your child.
Difficulty: Hard
Time Required: 1 hour

Here's How:

  1. When you notice non-compliance, first give a reminder. Remember to make direct eye contact. This simple strategy will work most of the time.
  2. Begin to think of an effective consequence if the reminder doesn't work.
  3. An effective consequence is 1) clear and specific; 2) logically related to the misbehavior, 3) time-limited; 4) varied.
  4. Continued misbehavior requires a warning of the consequence. Move closer to the child than normal conversational distance and make direct and prolonged eye contact.
  5. Be very specific about your expectation and the time frame for compliance. Tell him exactly what the consequence of noncompliance will be.
  6. Walk away and give him the opportunity to comply.
  7. If the warning doesn't work, send the child to his room while you both cool off.
  8. Ignore arguing, whining, or expressions of anger.
  9. After a few minutes go to the child's room. Speak calmly and without emotion. Explain that the consequence is now in effect and how long it will last.
  10. Avoid power struggles by listening to your child and helping him plan how he will do what it is that you ask of him.
  11. Don't let the consequence slide. Enforce it.
  12. Forgive your child for his misbehavior. Start with a clean slate. Don't dwell on past mistakes.


  1. Don't use yelling, sarcasm, name calling, insulting or hitting. Keep your own emotions in control.
  2. Do show respect for your child and recognize his good intentions. Let him know that you know he wants to do the right thing and you are here to help him learn how.
  3. Don't keep a running tab of your child's misbehavior. Implement consequences for misbehavior then let it go.

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