My problem is that I never can think of appropriate consequences when my kids misbehave. Do you have any suggestions? I have five children ages 9-18. Thanks, Amy
Consequences can be difficult to think up, but the trick is to only do it one time. A parent who has to reinvent the consequence every time a lesson needs to be taught will come across as uncertain and flustered. Have a plan. Parents who have a plan are more secure to be around and will be more respected by their children.
My rules for consequences are these:
1. Decided on consequences which will motivate my children
2. Decide on consequences which will build character ( I really like work for this) It is really hard to be selfish while working. Good work is therapeutic for a sick character.
3. Decide on a consequence which you will go larger than. It is so good to set yourself limits. Don't allow yourself to "one up" consequences. It doesn't do any good. If a consequence isn't effective, it is probably because the child isn't accepting the consequence and isn't ready to be taught yet. This is when a parent probably needs to go to the Rule of Three. In our house the largest consequence ever is 24 hours with no privileges. (This is not suitable for children under the age of 6)
4. Decide upon a consequence for minor things. Something that is always your standby. In our house the standby is an extra chore.
5. Choose two other consequences which are motivating to the family.
6. This gives you a total of four consequences to remember. After you have these down, then it's okay to add others in family meetings if your family chooses too. Other than that, there shouldn't be a need for any other consequences.
7. Don't forget that positive consequences are just as powerful as negative ones. Parents shouldn't always focus on negative means for inspiration and motivation. Life shouldn't feel negative.
Consequences are part of life. We all live by consequences. God has them, the government has them, relationships have them. It only makes sense that to help children learn to choose right and wrong on their own, we need to use them too. Just make sure that you have a good calm spirit when you use them for teaching your children. Your tone makes the consequences teaching tools instead of power struggles.