Chrstmas Spirit

Chrstmas Spirit
My wife and kids having a little holiday fun

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tantrums, Troubles, and Treasures (Consequences)

Happy Wednesday!  I hope you like the new look of the blog.  My computer skills are not up to par with my parenting skills.  The consequence of this fact is it takes me a lot longer to do the simplest of things.  Regardless, I like the way it turned out.  Also, please take a second to answer the education poll about grading.  It will be discussed in a future education blog.

The term consequences seems to me to have a bad rap when it comes to kids.  They usually come when the kid has messed up one time too many for the parent to handle.  Some parents may think of grounding a child or giving a time out as a good consequence.  While this may be true, what I would like for you to think about is a broader definition for the word.  How can consequences be more effectively used to your advantage?

Sometimes, consequences don't come directly from us at all.  For example, a couple of days ago, my three year old Luke decided to run on the couch.  Before I turned around to correct him, he fell and bumped his head.  That's a natural consequence.  I would argue they are the most effective kind.

Consequences do not have to be negative; nor should they presented in that way.  They are merely the results of actions.  They can be positive or negative.  When Cameron does a good job on his "daddy" school work; he gets to tell me the positive comment to write on the top of his paper.  One of his favorites is "Great job, Cameron."  He usually has to remind me that he wants the exclamation mark at the end of the comment to read, "Great Job, Cameron!"  The exclamation mark is very important to him.  That is a positive consequence.

Last night, my wife Lauren reminded me of a house parent I worked at St. Joseph Children's Home named Judy.  If Judy could start a game show for kids, it may be called "Choose Your Consequence."  She seldom gave children a consequence immediately.  When a child was misbehaving, she may tell the child that if they continued, they may go to their room. If they discontinued the negative behavior, they could stay with the group.  Judy would tend to leave the power in the hands of the child and it was effective many times.  The child was given time to think what they were doing, understand the consequence, and react accordingly.

I went downstairs last night to let Lauren and Cameron finish their nightly routine before I placed Cameron to bed.  No sooner than I hit the bottom stair, I heard Cameron start complaining.  He wanted to do a "trick" on the stairs and Lauren said, "no."  Of course, Cameron tested by walking toward the stairs. 

Lauren handled the situation similar to how Judy would have handled it.  She said, "if you go down the stairs, I will not read to you and you will go straight to bed."  Incidentally, this was said in a calm tone.  Cameron begrudgingly went to his room.  There have been many times in the past where he could not resist and perform the undesired action.  Of course, Lauren would carry through with the consequence.  Cameron would get mad and, sooner or later, I would get involved.      
Last night was different.  I was proud of my wife for how she handled the situation and proud of Cameron for thinking things through.  After they shut Cameron's door to read, I'm sure they had a nice time together.  Cameron received a positive consequence for following directions. 

This Friday's blog was inspired by one of my readers.  The question focused on how two parents should raise children when their parenting styles are completely different.  This happened many times at St. Joseph Children's Home and I'll tell you how it was handled, what I learned, and what pitfalls to avoid.

All the best to you and your families!  Please continue passing this blog along to others who would enjoy it. Now there is an option on the right hand side of the screen to share the blog on Facebook or Tweeting it. The "About Me" section has been tweaked as well.

Considering the blog is only a month old, I couldn't be more pleased with how the word has spread.

Thanks again!!!   

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