Youth Alternatives: Consequences

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CHEYENNE, Wyo - Managing consequences for your children’s unacceptable behaviors can be a tricky and confusing task.

Cheyenne Youth Alternatives sent us some suggestions to help parents make certain their discipline is clear and effective.

-Plan Ahead.

Take time to communicate the rules and potential consequences to your children when everyone is calm and not in conflict (This will help your child make educated decisions about how to act). Plan for how to respond when your child behaves unacceptably (“One warning and then implement the pre-arranged consequence” tends to work well).

You cannot plan for EVERYTHING, but the more prepared you are for how to handle a situation, the more likely you are to respond appropriately instead of allowing your emotions to dictate your response.

- Be Consistent

The surety of consequences is much more important than the severity of consequences. Consistently and calmly following through with rules and consequences teaches children the cause and effect of their actions. Consistently match the severity of consequences to the severity of the infraction.

- The Goal Is To Help Your Child Learn

You cannot control your child’s actions; You can only influence them by teaching them how to learn from their mistakes (This approach, over time, will help your child learn to take responsibility for their own actions and feel able to control how they are treated by controlling their actions).

Calmly explain what your child did wrong, what the consequence is, and what you expect your child to do next time. Be compassionate, but firm. Avoid yelling. Be as nonchalant about the consequences as your child is about the infraction.

Be encouraging and express confidence in your child’s abilities.