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Steps for Using Consequences to Stop Misbehavior

Step 4: Tell them why

Mom sitting in chair hugging daughter

Let your child know why the negative consequence is happening. Always follow through with the consequence. Remember timing is key. Consequences should occur immediately after the misbehavior. This way, your child clearly understands what she did to get the negative consequence. When using a consequence, you can give a brief explanation to your child. You may say, “Because you hit your brother with your doll, I am taking away your doll for the evening”. At that point, the doll should be removed and placed out of the child’s reach.

Your child may beg, plead, cry, and tell you what you want to hear once you use the consequence. Your child may also say things like she hates you or that you are a terrible parent. This should not affect your decision to follow through. If your child throws a tantrum and you give her what she wants, the lesson she learns is “If I cry loud enough, mom/dad will give me what I want.” In this case, you have actually rewarded your child for the tantrum and made it more likely she will throw a tantrum in the future. 

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