Parenting can be so tricky sometimes. We really just want our children to do what they are asked to do, when they are asked to do it, without back chat or complaining. Instead, we find ourselves threatening with consequences and punishments, dealing with screaming (them and us) and in the end we are probably going to refrain from asking our kids to do anything, because it is just easier to do it ourselves.
I try and stay away from punishments, purely because it seems to put me in a lose lose situation. I have to come up with the punishment, enforce it, and deal with the loud and often psycho ramifications of it! I don’t see how punishments actually work, and have only seem a few isolated cases of some success with punishment, and usually it is used successfully as a way to break a habit before new, better habits are established.
A consequence is not really a punishment, although I now hear the term being used instead of ‘punishment’ but really meaning the same thing. For me, a consequence is the result of something happening or not happening. For example, I absolutely believe in making my life easier and not harder, so if I need a space cleaned up, a bedroom tidied or the lounge vacuumed, then until the job is done there will be no lunch. The consequence of not tidying up the space is that I won’t organise lunchtime, or any other food time, and if I time it right (about15 minutes before ) then I find that food is a great motivator and consequence to something being completed. This only works in my house though, because my kids aren’t allowed to just wander into the kitchen and help themselves to food whenever they like. Food times are set times and ONLY at those set times. In other homes this would need some tweaking.
I also believe that my kids need to contribute to the running of our home, which means that there are certain things that I may ask them to do in the week, which I don’t want to have an argument about. Things like emptying the dishwasher, setting and clearing the table, vacuuming their rooms once a week, and putting their washing away as some examples. As a part of this contribution they get some pocket money weekly that they can spend on things like mufti days, or save up for bigger items. I don’t remove pocket money for behaviour or anything except as a consequence of there being arguments around contributing to the house. I don’t threaten that they might got it this week, because if you get to that point, then they are probably already angry and suddenly them being angry means not getting money is a punishment for that moment, not a rational decision over the week relating to how they contributed to the household.
It’s a fine line.
Consequences verses Punishment.
My biggest thing from this would be that, if you or the kids are angry it is easy to tip into using punishment to try and get stuff done or behaviour to change. If you set up unemotional and ‘normal’ rules and basic expectations then you are probably using consequences.
Hopefully seeing some examples of what I do, sparks some ideas in you for your family.
If you want any help with putting together some consequences verses punishment rules and routines in your home then please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org – first 20 minute chat is FREE and still really valuable so don’t be shy.