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Consequences should be

January’s tip of the month is based on the work of parenting expert, Dr. Erica Reischer

When I work with families in distress, eventually the topic of consequences will come up. Often times I hear “We have tried everything, and nothing works.” Almost always, the problem is either lack of consistency, or the consequence itself. Let’s start with the consequence. It is important to find your child’s currency. The consequence should be Meaningful- It should be something important to the child or teen, such as a favorite toy or activity. It is also important to remember we are trying to find teachable moments to shape and nurture the desired behavior and to discourage the undesired behavior. Relevant- The consequence should be related to the situation, if at all possible. For example, if your teen was texting inappropriately, taking the phone for a period of time would be relevant to the crime. Of course, as parents, it is our job to monitor our teens technology as often times they are not yet mature enough to make good decisions all of the time.

With our help, they will grow into better decision making. The last point about the consequence itself, it that is needs to be Proportionate- it is important that the more serious the rule broken, the more serious the consequence. Conversely, we don’t want to go over board with a maximum life sentence for a small infraction. If everything is treated as a major crime, then soon nothing is a major crime. Consequences should be delivered in a calm, even tone. Remember, our goal is to teach, not to punish. Finally, consequences should never be related to a child’s fundamental needs such as food, shelter or love.


I am a licensed LPC-Supervisor.

I supervise LPC interns as they achieve their 3000 hours necessary to qualify for their LPC license.

Board Certified PTSD Clinician

Certified Relationship Counselor

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