Ask PWC | Consequences


I’m new to trust-based parenting. What are the consequences for lying, stealing, hitting, or <insert your child’s behavior-of-the-day>?

It’s important to remember that #1–our children use behavior to communicate and #2– their brains have developed in such a way that they don’t make the cause and effect logic leaps that seem to make sense to you.

The end goal is to train our children to handle their overwhelming emotions (like grief, sadness, anger) and intense sense of insecurity in more appropriate ways. While consequences may have worked on you when you were growing up or for your bio kids, children from hard places often see parents imposing consequences as affirmation that they are not loved and/or safe. Additionally, traditional consequences such as time outs and removed privileges have a tendency to create relational distance rather than connection which is counterproductive to creating the relational safety kids need to heal.

While the behaviors kids from hard places rely on are infuriating, we need to be emotionally well enough to put aside our felt need for “justice” and discern what we can do to help our children so they no longer use maladaptive behaviors.

Tools to consider are helping our children use good words to express their feelings, needs, and wants; allowing compromises; role playing and practicing good behavior; teaching self-regulating skills; keeping their worlds small, safe, and predictable; slathering on their love language; and intentionally creating playful bonding moments throughout your day.

For more resources on this topic, click here.

All that being said, natural consequences are fair game.

More on the line between natural and imposed consequences next week so stay tuned…

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