Do you ever feel the consequences you give your child are not working and that they just don’t listen? The fact is that when we’re trying to get our children to listen to us, the act of giving consequences is more difficult to deliver than we realise. We may feel that we are just not getting it right, but while there’s no perfect way to do it, the fact is that some consequences are more effective than others. so here are a few things that you may want to consider when it comes to giving the consequences.
Avoid “Never-Ending” Consequences
The consequences you need to give should have a very definite beginning and end. You need your child to see the light at the end of the tunnel and if your consequences are either too harsh or there’s no end in sight, they will feel inclined to give up. The fact is that if we want our children to listen to us, the consequence has to be something they feel like they can follow through on.
And this is why we may want to think about incorporating certain things into their lives that help them to mark their progress. You can easily design a personalised calendar so they can see how long they need to do X behaviour in order to get their rewards. For younger children, they may benefit from something like a sticker system. This is where you can put a star on a chart for every day they’ve done what you’ve asked of them, and if they get to 10 stars, they can have a reward, such as a toy. But if they don’t you can then take one star off, which means that they still have the goal in sight, it just will take them a little bit longer to get back on track.
When you incorporate never-ending consequences it’s very likely that they will give up because there is no end in sight.
Connect the Consequence to the Behaviour
Whatever outcome you want to give, you have to remember it needs to be as closely related to their misbehaviour as possible. For example, if your child comes home later than their curfew, a logical consequence would be to set their curfew earlier next time. And if they come home promptly the next time, you can reintroduce the old curfew.
Make the Consequence Uncomfortable
It’s important to remember that when you are incorporating consequences, they need to have some impact on their lives. For example, if you took away a video game that your child doesn’t play with much, this isn’t going to help your case.
One of the more common consequences these days relates to phone usage. If your child is not doing what you ask of them because they are using their phone or watching television, naturally, you can set a consequence according to either how much TV they watch or how much they use their phone. The goal is to make them feel uncomfortable by using the thing they love so much as a consequence, so they can work towards being better behaved.
Getting Your Children To Listen – Make the Consequences Achievable
When you set them a task to help make amends for a mistake, it’s important to remember that they need to know how to do it. And when it comes to something like a 5-year old drawing on the carpet, it may not even be safe for young children to have a spray cleaner and spray the stuff into the carpets, but what you need to do is to give them something that they can do to help.
If they have drawn over the carpet but they’ve also ended drawing on the walls, a time-honoured trick is to use wet wipes to get the pen off the walls. Because if they don’t know how to do something and you have asked them to make amends by fixing the mess they made, you will both end up frustrated, and this can mean that their bad behaviour may probably increase. Giving your child achievable consequences that are also within their skill set is so important for the very act of achieving them.
Do Not Yell at Them When You Are Setting the Consequences
It is something we are all guilty of. If we had a long day and our children are not listening to us, it is so easy for us to get emotional and start screaming or arguing. The reality is that if we enter into a debate with our child, it’s only going to make things worse. Any child will invariably enter a power struggle if it means getting what they want.
If you start yelling, it makes everything more about yourself rather than your child’s behaviour and the lesson we’re trying to teach them. We may think that raising our voice gives us more authority, but when we are delivering consequences, we need to remember to speak clearly and matter-of-factly.
Give Consequences That Force Your Child To Think
When your child misbehaves, you want them to ask themselves what they could do differently next time. When young children snatch from a sibling, you could ask them “what will you do differently next time so you do not get into trouble?”
Because if you then give a consequence relating to that misbehaviour, such as no toys until you get along with your sibling for X amount of time, this has a lesson inside of it but it also forces your child to think about how their behaviour brings about a specific outcome. Because if your child snatches the remote from their sibling’s hands, a very simple consequence would be to have no television until they can get along together.
The Punishment Needs To Fit the Crime
In other words, you need to match the level of the consequence to the level of the behaviour. We can all fall into the trap of underreacting to a situation and not following through on giving a consequence. But also, if we overreact and make the consequence too harsh, we can run the risk of our children not following through with it. Both aspects are not effective.
Because if your child causes a lot of damage, taking away something for a day is not going to teach them the right lesson because it’s not effective enough. On the other hand, if they say a naughty word, you shouldn’t ground them for a lengthy period of time. The consequence is there to teach a lesson so it needs to be attached to the behaviour.
Getting Your Children To Listen – Give Yourself Time To Think
Emotions can always cloud our judgement, especially if our child has been building up to a massive episode. Because if you get frustrated or angry, you may want to step away from the situation and talk about things when the air is calmer. Doing this doesn’t just help you to think about what level of consequence to give them; it also gives them time to think about what they have done.
In addition, this also creates a very uncomfortable situation for them. They will have to wait to hear what you are going to say and if it’s going to be a punishment of sorts. Taking this time helps you to have an appropriate response but with a consequence that matches the level of their misbehaviour.
Create a Number of Consequences
This can help you match the punishment to the misbehaviour effectively. Taking the opportunity to create a list of consequences, as well as rewards that might benefit your child, can help you to connect with them more. Because we can’t just focus on the punishments, because if they have been really good, the reward has to exceed their expectations and make them realise that if they are well behaved then they will be sufficiently rewarded for it. Because if you see your child behaving the way they should, it’s also important to take the time to notice and comment on it.
As much as we need to punish bad behaviour, we also need to reward good behaviour because this will give them the motivation to keep going. Having a menu of consequences and rewards is just as important because it helps you to understand what is important for them, while also ensuring that you create a sufficient level of punishment and reward.
Getting Your Children To Listen – What Happens if It Is Not Working?
Sometimes we can have children that will just say “I don’t care” to everything. And it can be easy to believe that whatever you are setting, it’s not working. But sometimes, you have to call your child’s bluff, because, let’s face it, sometimes, children are incredibly adept at playing us.
But if you find the consequence is not effective, there is nothing wrong with starting over again and going back to the drawing board. The fact is that if you want to ease your parenting stress because you are struggling getting your children To listen, the reality could be in delivering the appropriate consequences for their misbehaviours.
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