Suggestions for parents teaching Negative Consequences

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Consequences are not the tool to teach your child, they are simply an added support. If you rely on the consequence to teach the lesson you will not be successful, so use the skill Correcting Negative Behaviors as your guide.

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During negative consequence education, stay calm. When a child does something wrong, it’s easy to get upset. Being upset usually makes the situation worse. It’s okay to take a break and come back and address the negative behavior when both you and your child are calm.

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If you’re frustrated, it’s okay to say “you’ve earned a consequence” and then decide what that consequence is once things have calmed down. This is a much better alternative to issuing an emotional or unrealistic consequence and needing to rescind it or apologize later.

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Start by addressing one negative behavior. It’s challenging to be consistent when addressing multiple issues at once.

Don’t start with the most challenging behavior. Starting with less challenging behavior gives you the confidence you can provide Effective Negative Consequences, and gives your child confidence that they can make changes.

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Make sure the Negative Consequence decided upon is something you can do. If a parent can’t follow through with the Negative Consequence, it will cause more problems. Your child will learn they can’t trust you and that consequences aren’t a result of their actions, but of your mood.

A consequence that works for someone else may not work for your child. It may take some trial and error to figure out what works for your family. The same consequence may not work for every child as every child has different things they value. It’s okay to give children different Consequences for the same negative behavior.

Don’t give up if this doesn’t come quickly or feel comfortable. You’re not going to get the hang of giving Negative Consequences overnight. It may take a week or a month or longer, but it will get easier over time if you’re consistent in using the components.

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Use Effective Praise. Praise yourself for the progress you and your child are making, even if that progress feels small! It takes time to get all the components right.

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When a Negative Consequence is no longer working, switch it up using the five components of Effective Negative Consequences.

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Negative Consequences are much more powerful when combined with Positive Rewards. Parents who use both skills report a more significant change in behavior.