Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Carrots and Consequences

I've made several posts about disciplining children through the years.

But it all can be summed up with the phrase "Carrots and Consequences".  Give them a reason for being good and a consequence if they aren't. 

I see my job as a parent is to teach them that being good (obedience to God) has wonderful  benefits (Heaven) and not being good (disobedience to God) has terrible consequences (Hell).

 I love "catching them being good" and reward them for it. Since they know that, they'll let me know if they've done something worthy of rewarding.  Their agony comes when I had an activity planned that they didn't know about and it gets taken away.  Oh, the wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Toddlers & Preschoolers
Any activity involving parental interaction (play ball for 10 minutes, etc.) vs. Time-Out
     Time-out is usually 2x their age for a single infraction.  If they are 4, they can get up to 8 minutes in time-out.  If they've done 2 things wrong at the same time, they don't serve contiguous sentences.  But if they do a new thing wrong, they'll certainly be put back in time-out.  Some kids end up in time-out for almost years of their lives.  Some kids need me to be there while they're in time-out or they'll go play.

Whatever is their favorite activity vs. Taking that away
     I've grounded kids from reading. I've grounded them from playing the piano.  Really, I've grounded them from all sorts of stuff: cooking, speaking, spending time with their siblings, friends, being alone in their room, whatever they value.  Those are the same things I'll use as carrots: getting to bake cookies, deciding what we'll eat for dinner that night between 3 options I give them, sleeping in the dog kennel or someplace different in the house, 15 minutes of time before bed, etc. 
     For the boys, it's always "screens" - any electronic device (computer, video game, tv, etc.)

Fun activities (that they're asking for on a regular basis) vs. grounding
     Grounding is my discipline friend during the teen years.  I have one child who has suggested having a picture of her face with a circle and a slash through it for all the days she's grounded from facebook so her friends will know why she's not responding.  I reassure her - they know.

 Depending on the child, what looks like consequence, may be a carrot for another child.  My preschool daughters begged me to allow them to pin rags together  for them to wear and talk mean to them while they played Cinderella and scrubbed my kitchen floor on their hands and knees.

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