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FYI Parents » Behavior Management Ideas

Behavior Management Ideas


Logical Consequences: Discipline That Works!

Katy Abel   Good for Ages: 6 and up.

From: Family Education Network

Do you feel like a broken record -- repeating the same request to your child to no avail? Using a technique called "logical consequences" may be just the approach you need to solve the problem and avoid a power struggle with your child. Penny Hutchins Paquette and Cheryl Gerson Tuttle, co-authors of Parenting a Child with a Behavior Problem (Lowell House Books) offer these tips for using the technique successfully.

When It Works: Try this when a child doesn't do his homework, "forgets" to clean the kitty litter box, or refuses to eat breakfast. In a nutshell, a logical consequence is the process of discovering that if you don't eat, you will become hungry. Grades will fall if homework is not completed; the house will smell if the litter box isn't changed.

Why It Works: It allows children to learn first-hand what will (or will not) happen as a result of their actions (or inactions.) Too often parents try to protect children from the consequences of what they do, Tuttle says, depriving them of the chance to learn important life lessons. Using a logical consequences approach to discipline eliminates power struggles between parents and kids by keeping the focus on the child's behavior ("I see you forgot to clean the kitty litter tray again, Susan. Gee, maybe tomorrow we'll relocate it to your room since the smell apparently doesn't bother you.")

When It Doesn't Work: In dangerous situations. A child caught playing with matches shouldn't be encouraged to experience the logical consequence of getting burned.

Charting: Discipline That Works!

Katy Abel   Good for Ages: 4-12.

Have you tried all your usual discipline techniques to solve a problem with your child and nothing's worked? Using a chart may be just the fresh approach you need, according to Penny Hutchins Paquette and Cheryl Gerson Tuttle, co-authors of Parenting a Child with a Behavior Problem (Lowell House Books).

When It Works: Keeping a chart, with stickers or stars to mark behavioral improvements, works well with chronic problems, like whining or messy rooms, that drive parents crazy. Among other things, Penny Paquette notes, charting teaches delayed gratification, "that you don't automatically get things because you're cute, but because you earned it and waited for it." In terms of effectiveness, charts and time-outs are polar opposites: Time out doesn't work when you use it all the time, while charts never work unless you do!

Why It Works: A chart is a "visual cue" for kids; they don't just hear complaints or praise, they can actually see change. It's a way to get them involved in the discipline strategy; they can help make the chart or perhaps choose a reward.

When It Doesn't Work: Keeping a chart can be a difficult task for kids with attention difficulties; lots of parental involvement is needed. Parents also need to assess their own schedules; if you start a chart and don't have time to keep it up, it undercuts the message that behavioral change is important. Finally, don't start 17 charts. Your child may whine, leave dirty socks lying around, and forget to do his homework, but focus on just one behavior problem at a time.

Caution: Don't promise a trip to Disney World in return for a semester's worth of completed homework assignments. Even Pokemon cards or candy bars are the wrong incentives, Paquette and Tuttle believe. The authors urge parents to use "gifts of time" to reward kids for good behavior. A family Monopoly tournament or a prized half-hour extension on bedtime send kids the message, "When you behave nicely, I want to be with you." If there are no behavioral improvements within a week, the chart is probably not having its intended effect.

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