This month’s spotlight:
Consequences and limit setting
Parents often ask for support in developing and implementing consequences and setting limits. It is important to have a balance between noticing / rewarding the positive things your child is doing and setting limits to keep them safe and healthy. Regardless of the age of your child, the following tips can support any child - whether they are a tantrum laden 2 year old or a petulant 14 year old, these tips are for ALL ages.
- Address the problem within 24 hours: It is important to discuss the problem with your child soon after the incident. Waiting multiple days or weeks to address the problem can be confusing and is often less effective.
- Wait until you and your child are calm before talking about the problem: if you or your child starts to become upset when discussing the problem, take a break and come back to it once you are both calm.
- Using a calm voice, explain to your child why they are getting a consequence and what the consequence is.
- Avoid arguing with your child about the consequence or threatening your child.
- Do not bring up past misbehaviors. Focus on the situation that you are currently dealing with.
- Give immediate and short term consequences (this way they can clearly understand the link between the behavior and the consequence).
- Be sure the severity of the consequence matches the severity of the behavior: For example, if your child comes home late, an appropriate consequence would be that they can not go out the following night or that they have to be home early (compared to being grounded for a week).
- Make sure the consequence is something you are able and willing to enforce.
- Only give one consequence at a time: do not add or change consequences after you have given your initial consequence.
- Follow through with your limit: consistency is key in effectively supporting.