Consequences are a part of life. If a driver speeds on the road, the driver receives a fine. If a teen uses their mobile phone at night past the agreed time, the phone is confiscated the next day. If a child forgets to take their hat to school, they can’t play outside. These are negative consequences due to poor decision-making.

There are also positive consequences. If a child puts on their helmet, they can ride their bike. If they speak nicely, people respond. Giving praise or a suitable reward is also an effective positive consequence.

For the times you want to change your child’s behaviour, don’t give your child a consequence in the midst of a heated argument. Your child won’t hear you and many parents find that they can ‘lose it’ in the heat of the moment. You know your child best. Plan ahead of time what the consequence will be if your child doesn’t follow through on an instruction, or exhibits poor behaviour. An example may be – if your child doesn’t come home at the agreed time, they cannot go out and have fun the next day. Another example could be if your child fights over a toy, the toy is put away until the next day or so.

Consider also that in the busyness of life, a child’s negative behaviour may be a sign that they need some attention from you. It could also be a sign that your child is hungry or tired.

For some parents, using consequences may seem harsh. We want to be loving and caring towards our offspring. We want to be seen as our child’s hero who will save them when life doesn’t give them what they (or we) expect. The ultimate goal, though, is to teach our children respectfully so they in turn will be respectful of us and others, thus raising our children to be responsible, happy and thoughtful adults. To encourage this behaviour, spend quality time with your children, have fun times with them and nurture your relationship with them. We need to maintain a quality loving relationship with our children to help them understand that the world has rules and consequences.

If you would like to learn more about understanding and supporting your child’s development, please contact us on 9334 0111 or to arrange to talk with one of our experienced Family Workers in a confidential setting.