Parenting Takes Lots and Lots of Effort

Parenting is the toughest job in the world, and it may seem like many of your efforts do not make a difference, but after 40 years of working with families, there is one thing that I know for sure. When you set a good example for your kids, teach them right from wrong, and set up the right consequences for misbehavior, you plant the seed for them to return to your values once they figure it out for themselves. Often times this takes a lot of conviction and faith that they will "eventually" live the family values that you have spent so much time trying to instill in them.

Parents who feel discouraged because their kids are talking back or taking things that do not belong to them or are lying about doing their homework will believe that they have not found an effective means to teach them right from wrong. They will chronically report that "no matter what they do it seems to have no effect on their child. This is so frustrating but as a parent your job is to teach them the natural or logical consequences of things. It is not your job to find out what you can do to get them to conform...unfortunately they have to figure this part out for themselves. I coach parents that they need to consistently teach a child that when A happens , this results in b happening. If a child goes outside without their mittens (A) their hands get cold (B).That example is a natural consequence that will occur spontaneously, and most parents will remind their children to wear their mittens and their hats for that reason. A tougher situation is a child who refuses to brush his teeth because the natural consequence is tooth decay, but most parents don't want to suffer the consequences with the child. Parents don't want to pay the dental bills or take time off from work to get their child to the dentist if they don't have to. Therefore, a parent needs to find a consequence that fits the misbehavior which is a logical consequence to the misbehavior. Maybe that looks like "Son since you are not brushing your teeth (A) , I will be taking away your after-school snacks (B) , because I need to reduce the chances of tooth decay. I know, you may be thinking that won't stop my 7-year-old from helping himself to the cookies while I am not looking. In this case you may need to increase the consequences and only buy healthy snacks like apples and teach the child that sweet treats are a privilege and require responsible behavior. More than likely you are saying..."Well then our whole family is going to be punished because of John's poor choices. And that is exactly what may need to happen so that he learns that his actions impact everyone. He will be much more likely to make healthier choices if his friends or family are affected.


Think about a misbehavior that you would like to focus extinguish.

Is there a natural or logical consequence that you could enforce that might be helpful in teaching your child healthy choices?

Figure out if the consequence fits the misbehavior .

Practice the consequence for 90 days and relish in the fact that you are teaching your child a valuable lesson that may or may not extinguish the behavior.

Have faith that your child will eventually come around!

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