When giving out consequences, don’t think JUSTICE, think HEART CHANGE. This one truth can change the way you discipline your kids. Many parents think, “Because you did this, you deserve that.” That kind of justice mentality doesn’t usually produce the desired results.
Consequences shouldn’t be viewed as a sentence for committing a “crime,” but rather as motivation to bring about heart change. Consequences are tools to get a child’s attention. They are preparation for significant discussions to address heart and character issues.
Here are some suggestions for planning consequences.
The younger the child, the more immediate the consequence:
- “Because you keep running away, now you have to ride in the stroller.”
As children get older, tie consequences logically to life:
- “Because you’re not finishing your homework assignments, you’ll have to get them checked each day by me.” (Lack of responsibility requires greater accountability.)
- “Since you didn’t listen to my warning, and you continued to be wild and broke the lamp, I’m going to ask you to earn the money to replace it.”(When children are unresponsive to words of correction, they need to experience the negative consequences of their actions.)
You might ask yourself, “What privilege is my child misusing?” to help determine the consequence. Tie privileges and responsibility together:
- “Since you aren’t sticking to the time limits we agreed upon, now you lose the privilege of playing on the computer for awhile.”
- “Jim, because you left your bike out on the front lawn overnight, you’re going to lose the privilege of riding it today. You know that if it gets stolen you won’t have one to ride at all.”
When possible, choose constructive consequences:
- “Because you continue to be mean to your brother, I want you to choose three ways to show kindness to him.”
ABOUT THE AUTHORS: This parenting tip is provided by the National Foundation for Biblical Parenting. For further resources about children and parenting, and to subscribe to their free email newsletter, visit: http://biblicalparenting.org/