From Klaus -- Teen Relations http://ezezine.com
Free Newsletter : By Klaus Klein MA, RCC
1) Feature Article --
Parenting: Giving Consequences vs "Wisdom Lectures"
2) Up coming presentation for 2012
3) Counselling services
Parenting: Giving Consequences vs "Wisdom Lectures"
In an article by Jenny Runkel, a teacher in Atlanta, Georgia
and member of The Scream Free Parenting Institute, she
shares her experience of learning an important concept
about giving consequences to children verses relying on logic
and wisdom. As a teacher and parent, she was reminded of
a lesson that just about every parent or adult working with
kids has to face at some point.
While teaching, Jenny explained her expectations for a writing
assignment to her students in what she believed was, a straight
forward, logical, and clear manner. Yet some students didn't follow
through. So she explained everything again. Yet, some students
still didn't follow through.
Finally, instead of giving more exhausting and frustrating
explanations (i.e. her "wisdom lectures", Jenny finally
implemented the consequences that she had planned
earlier, but had been reluctant to follow through on.
The consequences entailed losing marks for handing in
written assignment that did not meet the expectations for
neatness that she set. Instead of trying to "protect" students
from receiving consequences by more lecturing, she finally
allowed students to experience the consequences of their actions.
Many times as parents we are faced with a similar
situation where we try to "protect" our children from
experiencing the pain of consequences.
We explain things to our teens or young children and they
don't follow through.
As parents we often wonder:
-- Why can't my son or daughter just get it?
-- Why don't they listen to me?
-- Why don't they see the logic and wisdom of my words?
-- Why would they not want to do what makes sense?
-- Why would they deliberately cause so much trouble for
themselves (and me)?
We have the belief that our kids should listen to us because if
they did, then life would be so much easier for them (and us).
If they would just do as we say then they wouldn't have to suffer
any failures or face any consequences.
It's hard sometimes as parents to see our kids make mistakes
and face the consequences. Instead, we get caught as Jenny did
trying to "protect" our kids by offering more words of wisdom
over and over.
Often I see parents pleading and cajoling with their son or daughter
expecting them to change their behavior. Usually this leads to
frustration, anger, and exhaustion for the parents and also for
the teen as well and it shows in their "I don't care" attitude.
Setting up clear, concise and consistent consequences that you
follow through on can change the ongoing pattern of repeating
yourself over and over to the point of frustration or anger hoping
that you are going to get a different result from your child.
Your teen can "battle" with the impact of their consequence
rather than having to battle with you as you give yet another
Furthermore, part of learning is the result of having to experience
consequences. As parents, if we do not allow our children to
experience the discomfort of consequences, we are doing
them a huge disservice. By trying to "protect" them from pain
we are not preparing them for real life where there are
consequences -- and lots of them.
Guidelines for Implementing Consequences
with Your Teen
Every family situation is unique and a consequence that
works in one family does not necessarily work for another.
Circumstances such as family dynamics, parenting styles,
the length of a consequence, and the chances that you will
follow through, all play a part in creating consequences
for your teen.
It does take some effort, and even creativity to come up with
consequences that fit the various situations that you might
be facing. Here are some guidelines to help you in setting
up consequences with your adolescent:
-- Ensure your consequence is reasonable and realistic. If the
consequence is too severe or too light, it may be ineffective.
Similarly, if the consequence is not something that you will likely
follow through on, it is likely to be ineffective.
-- Set up consequences when you have given it some
thought -- not in the heat of the moment. Grounding your
son or daughter for a month might have felt good when you
were angry, but actually following through might be more
trouble than you anticipated.
-- Consequences may need to be repeated several times
before you see any change in your teen's choices.
Even adults sometimes need several parking tickets before
there is a change in their behavior.
-- Don't expect your teen to show remorse or a change
in attitude. Focus on the business end of the consequence.
A police officer doesn't care if you show remorse for a
speeding ticket or not. The officer's job is to follow through
with the ticket, your job as a parent is to follow through also.
-- Follow through each and every time -- saying one thing and
doing another is inviting lack of trust and respect. If you give in
even once, your teen will know that there is always a chance that
you will do it again. Thus, he or she will more likely push to try to
get you to give in again.
-- If you're not sure of what you should choose as a
consequence, take some time and talk it over with you
spouse or friends to get ideas that fit for you.
As parents, we need to remember not to take it personally
when our teens disregard our words of wisdom. What we
can do is guide them to learn about consequences, which
prepares them for the real word where bosses and people
in authority usually don't beg, bargain, plead, or cajole in order
to us to do what they want. As adults most of us don't have
people lecturing us on various aspects of our lives. We
typically rebel against being lectured. What we learned through
our own life experiences usually came in the form either
reward or consequence of our actions.
Guiding your teen to learn through experience is preparing
them for life in the long run. This doesn't mean that as a parent
you should never try and explain things and be helpful at times.
If your son or daughter is open to your wisdom and what you
have to say, then by all means enjoy the opportunity to share
what you can. But if you find yourself repeating the same lecture
and getting frustrated and exhausted, then a different approach,
just like Jenny had to take with her students, is probably what your
teen needs in order to grow and learn.
2) Klaus and colleagues have been asked to give a presentation for
John Oliver Secondary Parents. "Building a Closer Relationship With
Your Teen". The date will be finalized in the next few weeks.
Expected early 2012 at John Oliver Secondary.
3) Counselling Services
Klaus provides counselling for teens, parents, and family.
Call for a free 10-minute consultation 604-786-0709
Main Office Burnaby location: 2nd Floor 5050 Kingsway Burnaby -- near
Branch Office Vancouver Office Location: 2nd Floor
1892 West Broadway -- near Cyprus and Broadway
Hours: 4-7 pm Mon, Tues, and Wed
Klaus Klein is a Register Clinical Counsellor in BC