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Finding Consequences - Issue 287
February 15, 2013
Hi there! ....

This week We had a good week – what does good look like? We achieved most of what I set out to do and we spent our free time wisely, though we were flexible enough to deal with a few heart issues and then sickness in the house changes things as well. We are at the end of the week and the house is in order, we have spent time together as a family, we have encouraged other people, and we have learnt things. So all in all – a good week!

Live life with your kids!

If you are a new Australian reader I would appreciate you reading this special request.

Finding Consequences

One of the most powerful learning tools we have is consequences. A consequence is the outcome of any of our choices. For many years my children thought a consequence was negative, but really the outcome of our choices can be positive or negative, joyful or painful. (I used to call the positive consequence a reward or blessing – but really it is the same – just looks different!)

Wise parents will take the consequences of their children’s choices, and use them as a teaching opportunity. For example

  • Hitting your sibling – The issue here is selfishness. What happens in the real world when you are selfish? No-one wants to be your friend, you end up lonely. So a consequence – contrived maybe but with a logical reasoning – would be to give your children the experience of loneliness, so that they can experience the pain that comes with their choices (isolation, remove them from family life for a time).

  • Laziness - Proverbs has plenty to say about the lazy – they lose their possessions, they don’t eat, they live in disarray, they will be forced into labour. There needs to be consequences when our children are lazy and ignore their responsibilities, they need to live it, feel it, know what it is like. We tend to pick up after our kids – look for their lost shoe, iron their shirt if they didn’t get to it, finish up their chores, wait for them. We have to pull back from covering their laziness, let the consequences come to the open – let them live out the impact of their choices.

  • Complaining – If I had the unlimited resources like my God does I would deal with this one like God did – remember the people of Israel complaining that they had no meat and God said – I’ll give you meat! Till you are sick of it!! Unfortunately I don’t have that kind of resources!! But, another lesson learnt from the Israelites, is that because they complained and didn’t believe in the goodness of their God, they had to wander the wilderness for 40 years – their basic needs were met, but they didn’t experience the joy of the Promised Land. A complaining child can have the joys removed, and the mundane extended.

These are just examples, I am sure there are many ways to help our children see that kindness, diligence and thankfulness are better choices. And ultimately that is our purpose in allowing or arranging consequences – it is for them to learn from. Consequences are not a punishment – they are a training tool – so ask yourself: What could happen to my child to help them learn that there is a better option? If we just put our children in their rooms they are not learning anything. If we dish out the first thing that comes to our head, they may also not learn anything. If it is worth a consequence, it is worth learning from.

This is a pivotal question that we must ask ourselves. We may know instantly that we don’t like their behaviour – and we can make them change their behaviour but that is only working on the externals, they’ll do it again. We need to work on their beliefs, their character, their motivations ; their heart. So I would ask myself:

What is in their heart, or what is missing in their heart,
to allow them to make such a choice.
Selfishness, laziness, envy or discontent etc.

When my kids were younger there were many times that I was bamboozled as to how to help them learn that they had made a bad choice. I would ask them to sit and wait for me and I would then pray, refer to ‘the red book’ (as they remember it but it was officially called “Proverbs for Parenting”), then I would open the Bible and think about what was going on. When I had something to train them in, some clear idea, I would then go and speak to them, teach them, and talk about the consequence if one was necessary. As they got older, there have been the few times that I had to get back to them at a later time as I needed more time to think about it.

As I said in the beginning consequences can be positive too – good choices often have good consequences. If I am orderly, I know where to find my stuff. If I prioritise my time, I am punctual. If I put others first, I will share or see their need. We need to see the consequences of our children’s right choices as well. These of course aren’t in our face as much, they don’t scream at us for our attention but I am sure our children are making good choices (at least some of the time). We need to be on the lookout, we need to understand what is in their heart that drives these choices as much as what is in their heart that drives their wrong choices.

When our children make good choices, when they display good character, we need to praise them, affirm them and encourage them. There can also be specific consequences that you can arrange – like the blessings of God.

  • A generous child can be blessed with more
  • A diligent or responsible child is given privileges
  • A kind child is enjoys time with friends
  • A truthful child is believed and trusted with knowledge and responsibility

If you feel your discipline and training is going round and round in circles then maybe it is time to ask yourself two questions

  1. Are the consequences I’m giving my children helping them learn, or are they simply a punishment
  2. Am I praising and encouraging my kids or am I just aware of when they get it wrong.

And as always remember how God deals with us – unconditional love!

I blog throughout the week at Live Life with Your Kids! This week I wrote:

My Bookshop

Blending Life with Lessons e-book - Does your everyday life challenge your homeschool ideas? This is my journey as I discover that it is possible to disciple my children in today's busy lifestyle.

Heart Focus Parenting book/e-book - A heart focused parent will keep their attention on their child's heart for God, instead of on external behaviours.

Restoring the Heart, Mind and Soul of Christmas Do your Christmas celebrations line up with what you believe? Do your celebrations help your children learn more about Jesus?

This e-book is based on a workshop I held for a couple of years to help families see that Christmas can be a significant tradition in our family life. If we are intentional about how our family celebrates we have the opportunity to use this time to teach our children about Jesus, and his love for each one of us.

My Sitemap is a quick reference to all you will find on Lifestyle-Homeschool. I encourage you to have a browse around!

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Until next week

Belinda Letchford
Living life with her kids in Australia!

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About Live Life with your kids Newsletter

Live life with your Kids newsletter is about being a deliberate parent, about enjoying family life and using the opportunities that happen to teach and train your children in righteousness (right living with God). I hope that you will find regular encouragement as you live life with your kids!

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