Setting Logical Rules, Consequences and Rewards

By: Madelyn Murray LPC-Intern Supervised byMeredith Ivey LPC-S, RPT-S Setting up rules for a child already struggling with authority figures can be really difficult. What can be even more difficult is giving your child a consequence when a rule is not followed. Often times, implementing a consequence leads to even MORE of a meltdown. Here are a few simple tips for keeping a peaceful home and still enforcing healthy rules and boundaries with your child.

Photo Courtesy of Ben Francis, Creative Commons

1. Communicate Expectations This is important as your child reaches new developmental stages and milestones. For instance, the transition between middle school and high school brings a natural change in social activities, responsibilities, and freedom. Make sure you set the expectation before it becomes an issue. For example, communicate curfews expectations prior to your child even asking to go out for a social activity with a simple, “Now that you are 16 and driving, we expect you to be home by 9pm on weeknights and 10:30pm on the weekends. If a special event comes up, we can work out a compromise, but this is our expectation.”  This is the time to communicate what the consequence for the offense would be as well.

2. Offer Logical Consequences Logical consequences are very valuable life lessons. There are some life lessons that are learned by natural consequence, such as, not studying leading to failing the test. Consider offering logical consequences to the broken rule. For instance, your child not cleaning their room by the expected deadline should not lead to taking away a smart phone, iPad, or other device. The consequence should center on getting the room cleaned. The consequence needs to be something that is immediate. In this example, a logical consequence would be no screen time until the room is cleaned, rather than removing the phone for a long period of time.

3. Rewards Positive reinforcement is a great way to build your child’s self-esteem as well as encouraging them on the right path! Set goals together with your child. This bolsters your relationship with them and offers opportunity for their voice to be heard. It also builds trust with your child that you are not wanting to simply punish them, but wanting them to succeed. If your child is struggling with respect, chores, or grades, this is a great way to help them toward their goals. Set realistic goals, give positive reinforcement, and then raise the bar each time the goal is met. Celebrate success with your child and work through the not quite successes. Although these tips may seem more lenient than traditional parenting techniques, they are centered around preserving your relationship with your child, bolstering self-esteem, and building trust with your child.   © Compassion Counseling , 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Compassion Counseling with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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