“Since you said three ugly things to your sister, look her in the eyes and tell her three things that you love about her.”
“Don’t worry, I picked up your shoes, and your bag, and your shirt, and your brush that you left in the middle of the floor. They are in the Dollar Buy Back. You can pay me at anytime to get them out.”
I am the Queen of Negative Consequences.
As a mom, I have spent a great deal time, effort, and creativity in designing consequences that address my children’s negative behaviors to discourage them from happening again. I have always tried to think through both the issue and the consequence ahead of time so that I could implement them immediately. I have worked hard to be consistent and follow through so that my children knew that I meant business. And I have tried to make the consequences logical and practical in light of the behavior that I wanted to address. In many cases those negative consequences have provided the motivation needed to help my kiddos make better decisions and the preparation I have needed to remain calm as a parent.
But I was recently reading in an article on Parenting.org that said, “Studies show that parents who balance negative and positive consequences are seen as more fair and reasonable by their children.”
Hmmm. I think I need to focus on implementing more positive consequences to encourage and celebrate good behavior because if I’m always looking out for problems, then that is all I will see. And I want to see more good.
I want to see kindness, forgiveness, unity, responsibility, love, and patience in my children.
Some days it seems like I don’t see any of these qualities, but if I’m not actively looking for them, it’s certain that I will never see them.
So I have implemented the Philippians 4:8 gift card.
I bought a bunch of $5 Starbucks cards to award to my girls whenever I see them do or say something that is excellent or praiseworthy especially in an area that we are actively working on. Just this morning I was able to give one away when my daughter voluntarily owned her bad behavior (which we have been working on for years!), apologized for it, and came up with a plan to keep her from doing it in the future. It felt great to catch her doing something really good.
Finally, brothers and sisters,
whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—
think about such things.
Is there an area of your parenting where you might implement a positive consequence that has only known negative consequences?
By Dale Skram
Mom of four
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
real.life.speaker, real.faith.writer, and real.life.coach