Parents Education Center

Negative Consequence Rutt: Parenting Tips3 min read

This article was originally published by Nicholeen Peck on Teaching Self-Government.

“My two oldest boys, ages 8 and 7 are really giving me a run…. I know that if I stay strong, it will all pay off. We have a family mission statement, we have a job jar, we have been roll playing. They know what our “standards” are. My 7 year old has had discipline “issues” for 1 and 1/2 weeks consistently every morning during “school time”. He gets so frustrated with me when I calmly let him know that he earned another “consequence” I make sure and tell him that I love him and I wish that he could join us for privileged free time. He assures me that he will try harder but the same things keep happening over and over. He is 7 and very wiggly and dreamy, and distracted. He even has been swearing which is NOT our family standard! I try to explain to him that if he has good control over his body and mouth during school time, he will earn privileges, but he just doesn’t learn…. Any tips?”

It sounds like you are doing pretty well at creating an environment for self-government in your home. I hope your son is doing better now. If not read pages 66-69 in my book Parenting A House United. I am guessing you have it. This section goes over motivation for children who get themselves in a rutt. Also, remember that positive consequences are just as important, if not more so, than negative consequences. You may want to start with mastering shorter segments of time at first and then move up to longer ones. For each short segment there could be a positive consequence. This would only be a temporary motivational system for him of course. Or, you could use the bean jar idea. Pages 135-137. One last note: you said your son is frustrated when you calmly let him know that he earned another consequence. Of course he is. He can’t get away with things anymore. You are catching things. Also, you are calm. He can’t engage in the power struggles he likes. This throws him off. He is probably used to a two sided battle. It’s not comfortable to realize the whole problem is yours and you have to face up to it. That is where he is at. This is a good place. It means he will start choosing better real soon. Stay consistent. Keep praising.

As far as being wiggly and distracted goes, it goes with the age really. He will calm down more as he grows. For now, help him focus the best you can, but allow yourself to think too much of the wiggles. As far as this being hard………..yup………it is hard to keep calm when you are not used to it and handle all the crazy parenting days. But, if you keep at it, in no time the days won’t be as crazy and you won’t have to work at being calm, because it will be a habit. You can do it. Keep it up.

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