Parenting Tip from biblicalparenting.org's e-newsletter.
April 12, 2010
The Solution Isn't Just Bigger Consequences
Some problems that children face are more difficult than others. Annoying behavior, habitual teasing, and explosive anger are just a few examples. Out of frustration, some parents think that the child needs bigger and bigger consequences. They believe that the bigger the consequence, the faster the change.
Remember that the goal is a changed heart, not just punishment for doing wrong. A larger consequence may be needed to get the child's attention but the real work takes place by helping children adjust the way they think and the patterns of behavior that have developed over time. Often many small corrections are more effective than one large consequence.
Mature people will feel an internal pain when they discover that they’ve made a mistake or done the wrong thing. This is normal and healthy. Your child may not experience that same inner sense yet. Consequences create a kind of pain for children. This pain can motivate right behavior and get them moving in a helpful direction.
One example of this is the parent who decided to take away the privilege of riding a bike from her nine-year-old son. She said, "Son, I'm not taking the bike away for a set number of days. I'm taking the bike away until I see some progress in the way you're treating me when I call you in for dinner. We'll see how you do for the next few days and when I get a good response then we can talk about you having your bike again." Mom turned the discipline around so that the child had to earn back the privilege. She wanted to see several positive change points before she allowed her son to ride his bike again.
Kids often need a multi-faceted approach to help them change. Teaching about sensitivity, self-control, respect or another quality will also go a long way to help children change their minds and thus free them to change their hearts as well.
This parenting tip comes from the book Good and Angry, Exchanging Frustration for Character In You and Your Kids by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN,BSN.
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