Parenting Connection: How to give children consequences that teach, not punish

Parenting Connection

It’s Parenting Connection Tuesday and 6 News is here for you with tips, strategies, and helpful reminders from local child development experts on how we can be better parents and guardians.

Today’s topic: How to give children consequences that teach, not punish.

We’re continuing to learn from award-winning author and parenting expert Katherine Lewis about why modern kids are so undisciplined when compared to decades past — and how to update our parenting strategies to mesh with these changes. Her book titled “The Good News About Bad Behavior” goes into detail about what parents need to do in order to raise a modern kid. She helps to explain how to provide consequences when kids misbehave in a way that helps them grow, not hate you for being mean. Lewis says, every young kid wants to behave, but many times don’t have the skills to do so. She says, without a discussion and plan agreed upon between you and your kids, they will always feel like any sort of discipline you give is a punishment, and so she recommends:

*Setting in place expected rules
*Negotiating consequences in advance
*Following through with these consequences if they fail to comply

Lewis says, this allows you to no longer be in charge of making them act perfectly and removes parents from being the disciplinarian.

“We should expect with our kids that as we loosen the rules and we give them more freedom, they may mess up. Then, we have consequences that give them a little more support while they are learning to control themselves and manage their behaviors. We always want to push them to give them more freedom, but there to catch them when they don’t and we should expect for them to mess up.”

Lewis says, children actually like limits because they know what to expect — so says parents should use the four R’s rule when it comes to consequences:

*Revealed in advance
*Respectful
*Reasonable in scope
*Related to the skill needing to be learned

Lewis says, by strengthening a child’s communication and capability skills, and providing consequences that teach, not punish, it’ll be a lot easier to raise them to be self-disciplined.

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