I have mentioned in earlier posts how important consistency is in relating to your child. However, that doesn’t mean that you need to punish your child in the exact same way every day for every mistake. Remember, you are helping to guide your child into adulthood. Different kinds of behavior warrant different responses in childhood or adulthood.
I like to try to make the “punishment fit the crime.” My parents were experts at fitting an appropriate punishment to each inappropriate behavior. Slam your bedroom door? Get your door removed because you obviously can’t use it appropriately. In a fight with your sister? Sit across from each other with no talking (we couldn’t say anything mean, so we ended up making faces, and that always ended in laughing). Not listening because you have too much energy? Run laps around the house.
I found using this general idea in my classroom at school helped children feel that I cared enough to not only correct their mistakes, but to consider what they needed and where they were coming from. It also made my punishments seem fair. They weren’t made to feel that they were bad children, but simply that what they did warranted a consequence, and I was there to help them with that. Of course, in the midst of the punishment, they didn’t always appreciate that, but in most cases, when I was able to use logical consequences, I feel that my students felt I cared for them more than anything else.
Logical consequences take a bit more creativity, but the more you use them, the easier it is to think of them. Although I am still working at it, I have found it has gotten easier, and I love the results I get when I have my head on straight enough to think of and implement logical consequences. Remember not to threaten a consequence that you are not willing to follow through with or that you will not be able to do.
Here are some more examples that I have dealt with, and perhaps you can find applicable to your life.
In frustration, a child knocks over a bookcase, scattering all of the books across the room. He must clean everything up.
A child throws a game after losing, and breaks the game. The child is given daily chores with appropriate payment from me, collected in an envelope, until the price of the game has been reached.
One child calls another child a name. He must write a letter of apology.
A child refuses to put shoes on to go outside. The child must sit next to shoes until they are on or until outside time has finished.
A child throws food on floor. He is not given more food, but must sit and wait until everyone else is finished before being allowed to get up. (I like a warning for this one the first time)
After being asked to stop, the child continues to splash water on the floor from the bath. Child is immediately removed from bath.
What kind of logical consequences do you use in your home?