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I Need New Consequences

If the consequence you use with your kids has lost its effectiveness, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve identified seven categories of consequences that parents can use with their kids but before you read any further, you might want to try some other strategies to bring about change.

Using Consequences Strategically

Good correction always starts with words. After all that’s how God corrects us. He uses words, specifically his Word. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” Notice that God’s Word is used for correction. You want to model the same thing with your own children. In fact, whether your child is 5 or 15 you might want to say this, “I’m trying to use words here. If words don’t work then we’ll have to go to the next step.”

A good second step involves what we call a triangle of discipline. It has three parts. This triangle of discipline was modeled after the biblical pattern of repentance. The first step, the Break is designed to help children settle down, stop fighting and be willing to work on the problem. It comes from Jeremiah 8:6 which compares an unrepentant person to a horse charging into battle. The first thing children need to do in order for repentance to take place is to stop and settle down. The Break helps make that happen.

The second part of the triangle of discipline is the Positive Conclusion. It contains three questions and a statement. The first question is “What did you do wrong?” That question helps children deal with the biblical concept of confession. As you work through the questions and a statement you’ll have tools for helping children understand and practice repentance in their lives.

The third part of the triangle of discipline is to go back to the offense and replay it by practicing doing the right thing. This strategy completes the repentance process by helping children do what’s right. Many parents focus on getting their children to stop doing the wrong thing. The triangle of discipline helps kids also learn and practice doing the right thing, an essential element of change.

The triangle of discipline is described in the book Good and Angry, Exchanging Frustration for Character in You and Your Kids. The best way for you to understand and apply all of the parts of the triangle of discipline is to work through the Heart Work Training Manuals and CDs. There are eight lessons in the kit. Lesson three is called Correction Ideas that Touch the Heart and lesson five is entitled Ending Discipline Times with Impact. These two lessons are available in the kit or sold separately. They will walk you through the process of developing the Break and the Positive Conclusion in your family.

Sometimes the triangle of discipline isn’t working and that’s when you’ll want to add the Toolbox of Consequences. This workbook and CD is lesson four in the Heart Work Training Manuals and CDs and it contains seven categories of consequences you can use with your children. But more importantly than those tools is the way that you use them. You want to motivate heart change. Too many parents use “if…then…” statements or post a consequence chart on the refrigerator. This clearly defines expectations, but is simple behavior modification. Parents need to go deeper and address the heart as well.

It’s better to view consequences with a map mentality. Your child has a problem. It’s a heart problem. Once you identify the heart quality as lack of cooperation or dishonesty or unkindness, then you’ll want to identify the positive quality you’d like to see instead: cooperation, honesty, or kindness. The negative quality is point A on the map; the new quality is point B. Consequences motivate a child to move from point A to point B and become the road signs and detour signs that tell your child which direction to go and which direction is unpleasant or unproductive. Consequences are not the end in and of themselves, they’re the tools that motivate children to change.

This view of consequences is different than most parents are used to. It’s part of a heart-based approach to parenting. The book Parenting is Heart Work explains more about the heart and how to help children on a heart level. Although simple behavior modification may work with some children, at least when they’re young, most parents find themselves frustrated, throwing their hands in the air, or saying that they’ve tried everything to help their child change. As we work with parents to teach them a heart-based approach to parenting, children change. It’s amazing. It takes work. But the results are worth it in the end.

Need Some Help Finding The Right Solution For Your Family? Call Us At: 609-771-8002
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