Practical Dad

Did I Use an Unexpected Consequence?

Earlier in the week, I noted that one of the kids had major behavioral issues in the morning and I posed the question of whether I should apply an unexpected consequence that evening

He'd been through significant corrections in the morning and would be in bed more than an hour earlier that evening.  But I wondered whether I should take the other kids out for a treat after his early bedtime; it wasn't planned before the behavioral collapse but would serve to highlight that he'd really missed something with his actions.

So, did I apply the extra consequence that night?

No, I didn't.  Had we already planned the treat before things fell apart, I would've happily taken the other kids.  But it seemed to be "piling on" the kid by making him sit out a good event when it was only planned to tweak his figurative nose.  Good discipline happens when you can help the child see the connection between behavior and consequence.  Kids are concrete and literal and many aren't good at extrapolating their actions into unseen consequences.  Indeed, my concern is that if I were to blindside the offending child, he would develop a fearful attitude about his actions.  If I don't do something exactly right, then God knows what will happen next.

At 7:45, the offending child was safely in his bed and crying himself to sleep for missing family time.  I think that that was quite enough, thank you.

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