Guidelines For Consequences
When your child breaks the rules, you need to give a consequence. By enforcing the rules, your child learns that you mean what you say. Here are some tips:
- First: Correct your child with love. Talk to your child the way you want people to talk to you. Avoid yelling, sarcasm or using a disrespectful tone of voice. Sometimes start with "I'm sorry I can't let you do that."
- Second: Apply the consequence immediately. Delayed punishments are less effective because young children forget why they are being punished. Punishment should occur soon after a misbehavior and be administered by the adult who witnessed it.
- Third: Ignore your child's arguments while you're correcting him. This is his way of trying to delay punishment. State the consequence and walk away.
- Fourth: Make the punishment brief. For example, take toys out of circulation for one day. Keep time-outs to no longer than 1 minute per year of age.
- Finally: Follow the consequence with forgiveness and trust. Welcome your child back into the family circle. And don't require an apology for the previous misbehavior.
If you have questions about discipline problems, consult your healthcare provider.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 6/1/2008
Last Revised: 6/1/2000
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.