Contingencies vs Consequences
Contingencies vs Consequences
This is a fun and different way to positively influence your kid’s choices. We as the parents have to start framing thing differently to yield different results. How many times have you beat your head against the wall using the “do this again and you lose your video games tomorrow”. We tell ourselves they had the choice and they chose wrong.
I have good news, there are some different and creative ways to get better results! Do I have your attention!? Check it out.
Consequences are REACTIVE to the actions of your children or students. Contingency are a PROACTIVE approach. The result may be very similar, but the message and emotional effect are vastly different. Here is an example we as adults might experience.
“If you leave and are not back on time we will have a problem” vs “Sure, you can leave as long as you are back in time” Both are saying the same thing, but… if someone told me the first one, I would be negatively influenced and with my personality, I might even push until we “have a problem”
Contingencies shift the responsibility to your child. Let’s say they want to play video games but they have a disaster of a room. The normal way to deal with this is “if your room isn’t clean you can’t play video games”
The problem with the above is that you, as the parent are adding to your own work load because you now have to check up on the progress of cleaning the room and there is a negative undertone that you are DEMANDING that they complete the task before they can enjoy their games.
If you rephrase this as “you can play video games as soon as, you clean your room” This is sending both a positive message and placing the responsibility on the child, where it belongs.
Does that mean we don’t still need consequences, of course the answer is no. We are going to need them because our little monsters will still challenge us, especially as we start implementing these strategies (we will probably not do it particularly well at the beginning)
When you are giving out consequences, keep this in mind. Some children are willing to push the boundaries because they know how much risk is involved. If they know that they act out will get them a 5-minute time out, some kids will happily push that boundary because they are willing to take the 5 minutes.
Here are a couple strategies to try!
- Be vague, don’t give exact punishments and let their little minds fill in the blanks. If they know exactly what will happen they might be prone to push the envelope
- When they break a rule and trigger consequences ask them what the punishment should be. Most of the time, they will be harder on themselves then we would be on them! The added mental benefit of this is that it removes you, as the parent from being the villain. They choose the reaction.
Thanks for reading! Try some strategies and let me know what kind of result you get!
Source: Discipline without stress by Dr. Marvin Marshal