Updated: 4 days ago
Why consequences are important:
Can help to change behavior through both positive and negative
Positive consequences are more reinforcing than negative, but intermittent consequences are the most reinforcing
Can build distress tolerance if the consequence is meaningful to them (more on this in the Members's page - the connection between distress tolerance and the vagal brake development).
When consequences mean nothing
When they’re entertained during the consequence, like a parent is yelling at them or they get to argue instead of actually fulfilling the consequence. Parents fall into this trap when they are more involved in their own state rather than tuning in to their child’s state.
When there are reinforcers present, like in their bedroom
When they feel a sense of hopelessness related to obtaining the privilege, i.e. “There’s no point in trying, so it doesn’t matter.” This is why timelines for consequences are so important; the “time” has to fit the “crime.”
When there is a significant unhealthy attachment with the parent, a lack of co-regulation, there is nothing left to lose
Positive consequence vs gift/reward
Positive consequences mean they earn access to privileges that you control
Rewards are things that parents buy to reinforce, but this is unnecessary and usually too long-term, like “If you get good grades in your report card…”
Kids are being given access to things without earning it - They come home, they watch TV without doing homework first.
Kids are being given more and more stuff they don’t need
Bribes are a gift or reward that happen BEFORE doing the work
Natural consequences are things that happen as a result of the choices we make
Negative - If you earned an F, you keep the F
Positive - feeling good by opening the door for someone
Parents need to step out of the way and allow natural consequences to happen
Parents need to make conscious, measured choices about the consequences they set
Consequences should mirror real-life as much as possible
Hitting, whooping, spanking, yelling, shaming doesn't work - These methods only serve to teach an unintended lesson.