A lot of parents think there is an immediate correlation between the imposition of a consequence and a change in the behavior of their children. That’s not particularly the case and while there’s no hard and fast rule to fix that, you need to understand that the effectiveness of consequences is actually an art and not science.
- As such if you have a child who is resistant to consequences, the issue could be that your response to the child’s behavior was based on a belief that you were required to do a thing to the child rather than do a particular thing with the child.
When you do to kids, it sort of gives them an opposing mindset and that breeds a kind of power struggle. On the other hand, when you do with them, it brings this collaborative mindset.
A program aimed at positive discipline encourages each parent to place more focus on reaching an agreement rather than imposing rules on them as soon as the kid reaches an age where you can have a discussion that is solution focused. This is likely between 4 years to 5 years.
When you reach agreements with your kids about the consequences of a particular action, it gives them empowerment. In addition, their willingness to stick with the agreement is increased than when you impose those consequences as rules on them.
A discussion that is solution focused can begin with things like you talking about how you understand what they want, how certain things are important and asking how you can collaboratively make things work.
- With that, be open to checking the possibilities and rid off those options that both sides do not find ideal and eventually agree on one that would be easy for both parties.
As soon as you reach an agreement, then let the consequences be known upon a failure to stick with the agreement.
This way, you are not imposing a rule on the child and fixing a consequence for breaking this rule, rather you are agreeing with the child and you both established the consequences for a failure to adhere. As soon as the child knows the consequences of not sticking with the agreement, he gets the feeling that he has the power to choose.
Establishing an agreement as well as the consequence of a breach is sometimes enough to make the child cooperate since he was a part of the process. It may, however, be necessary to also remind the child. You can bring up things like nagging rights. For example, if your child is supposed to complete a task at a particular time, your nagging rights could begin some hours before that actual time.
You don’t have to be a disturbance or a true nag with this, it just gives you reasonable time to remind your child that you have an agreement. That could help the child reduce procrastination so as to get the task done and avoid having to suffer the consequence of not sticking with what you both agreed upon.
- This might not work when you try it out for the very first time because your kid could cry, roll eyes at you and call the situation unfair. However, you need to literally be the bigger person and remind them that sticking to an agreement is very important as a vital element of integrity.
You could also give them the option of altering the agreement the next time after they already fulfill that first one. Do not give in to arguing and so there is no need to converse with them about the issue until they fulfill their obligations under the agreement.
Most behaviors parents find challenging can be solved when they reach agreements with their kids instead of imposing rules on them. That could include food time routines, technology use, homework, and chores.
These solution-focused discussions do not need to be so long before they are effective, particularly when you have them as a family culture. As soon as it becomes a part of your family culture it’s easier for children to see things as teamwork rather than a parent vs. children situation.