What Makes A Good Consequence?Jul 11, 2023
“What is an appropriate consequence for a six-year-old not putting dirty clothes in the hamper but on the floor instead?”
Thing 1 and Thing 2
One of the great things about my coaching group is that, in addition, to live coaching calls, you get a 24-7 online forum to ask questions like these (which did come directly from a mama in my group, btw) anytime you want, as often as you like.
Great thing #2 about the group is getting prompt answers that contain both a concrete idea for what to do PLUS deeper teaching to expand your ability to address similar questions on your own more easily and readily as time goes on.
Because while I’ll always tell you a consequence that makes sense to me, you know yourself and your kid better than anyone else! You need the freedom and skills to depart from the script and find what works for your family, fits your values, fits your kids, etc.
See if you can do it here, with this mama’s question!
First of all, what makes a good consequence? Three things:
- One, it makes sense with the misbehavior. We're not punishing; we're consequencing - giving kids the logical outcomes of their choices. Random outcomes are just punishments and don't teach.
- Second, it has to feel right. If it's against your values or you feel icky about it, you'll either not use it or use it with lots of emotional intensity. Either way, it will be ineffective.
- Third, it has to matter to your kid! For example, if your kiddo doesn't care about reading, taking away their books probably isn't the best idea.
So, what consequence would I use here? I might say something like, “Feel free to keep the clothes you take care of.” Then when I see clothes on the floor, no problem! I’d just calmly pick them up and store them until my kiddo shows they're ready to have them back by taking care of their remaining clothes.
Remember that the point of consequences is not to make kids sad, force them to do something, or learn a lesson. It's about taking care of ourselves. And if limiting the number of clothes we have to deal with helps us take care of ourselves, that's totally fine!
For my values, for my kid, for that mistake, this is a good consequence. And you? Would that consequence fit? Can you create your own responses to misbehavior with these ideas?
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