Tip #44 – Natural Consequences
In my book for Military Families with Teens (101 Tips for Military Families with Teens), I wrote that the ‘punishment should fit the crime’ and I continue to maintain that it is one of the most important parts of making the consequence do what it is supposed to do – stop the behaviour. If you strip everything away you have nothing else to work with, if you give too harsh of a consequence for minor things what will you do withe more serious incidences, and if you restrict them completely you will not be able to live up to it and then you will be in the situation where your children won’t believe you will follow up with your promises or consequences. People often ask me what some other examples might be of appropriate consequences which has inspired this tip. These are simply suggestions and you need to make sure that you are doing things that will work with your schedule, life demands, family, circumstances, and do not end up punishing you more than your teen!
* Not eating dinner = No dessert
* Not doing chores = No allowance
* Took the car without asking = No car for a week
* Lied about where they were = Will do random spot checks to check up on them, monitor phone calls and emails
* Failed test or exam = 1 hour a night of studying at kitchen table or place where they can monitored
* Inappropriate emails or texts = Remove internet priviledges or phone for a period of time
* Stole from a store = Return item and work the number of hours it would have cost to replace the item
* Doesn’t help or do things around the house = Stop doing things for them and remind them it works both ways (Go on strike)
* Swearing = A fine for each swear word and you will spend the money on something for yourself
* Skipping class = Ask for an additional assignment to make up the time
* Rude or thoughtless = Do an hour of volunteer time somewhere they will learn to appreciate what they have
Giving consequences and following through with them shows your children you care and that you mean what you say and say what you mean. Don’t expect your child to turn around and say “Thanks for showing me that you care” but they will be grateful later on in life. More importantly, it will make your life a lot easier in the long run! When you have a family member away, your kids will test your patience and limits. Do you best to be consistent and make the consequences something that you are able to follow through on even if you are on your own.
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