When Consequences Don't Work Anymore
If you say it, mean it, and if you mean it, follow through
Parenting is tough.
We’ve all had those moments when it’s easier to give in to the whining and arguing than to say “no.”
However, permissiveness is most often not the way to help children develop initiative. If you say it, mean it, and if you mean it, follow through.
We all know someone who means well, but doesn’t follow through. You might run into them at the grocery store and they say, “Let’s get dinner soon!” or, “Let’s catch up over coffee!” yet they never follow through. The end result is that you lose faith in their intentions.
Children know when you mean what you say and when you don’t. Therefore it is important that you:
- Say it
- Mean it
- Follow through
Try to resist the desire to lecture. If what you are asking is reasonable, have confidence in your request. If you are using a lot of words, more than likely you’re trying to convince yourself and this will result in a power struggle.
Sometimes it leaves us feeling guilty to say “no.” We might be afraid our child will suffer for being told no or if their wish is not granted. Children will struggle more when they don’t learn they can survive disappointments in life. Disappointments are a major building block in developing social skills, self-worth, self-esteem, initiative and many other qualities.
When you follow through, your child learns they can trust you to do what you say you’re going to do. This helps boost your authority and establish safe, healthy boundaries.
Keep calm, lay out the choices, and administer the consequence. You can do this!