Consequences and effective rationals

Teaching children consequences are a natural response to actions is an important part of building healthy children. Consequences are different than punishment in that they are meant to teach a child and not to cause physical, emotional, or mental harm. The biggest mistake that parents make when giving a consequence is that they don’t find effective rationals. What we mean by this is, if parents give consequences that matter to a child, the child is less likely to repeat the negative behavior. We call these effective rationales. A rational is the motivation for why a child should behave the way you want them to behave. While it sounds easy, finding motivation for kids can actually be challenging for many parents. When parents give children a reason as to why they should behave a certain way, most of the time they give a rational that matters to them and not their child. For example when a parent says “it will make mom’s life easier if you do x, y, z.” While it’s true that it will make your life easier, that reason doesn’t matter to your child. Now what would matter to your child would be more play time, staying up late, getting a cookie, or spending time with you. Parents will find a more willing child by understanding what motivates a child; whether that be money, time, etc.

If you’re stuck trying to figure out motivates your child look at how they spend their free time or spend their money as those things will matter to your child. Filling out the Finding a Meaningful Reason worksheet on Smarter Parenting will help you find out what is motivating to a child.

Consequences and effective rationals will improve the relationship with your child as your child will better understand that you understand them and are there to help them.

Giving meaningful reasons to your child will take some getting use to, but the dividends will pay off long-term.

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