Parenting Tip: What to Do When an Appropriate Consequence is Hard to Find

Using choices and consequences is a great way to discipline kids since it keeps them from seeing you as the source of punishment  by putting them in charge of their own behavior. It teaches them that the choices they make impact how they go through life. There are two kinds of consequences parents can set up for a choice scenario (i.e., “You can _______ or ________”), natural (“You can wear your jacket or not” equals a natural consequence of being cold if they left the jacket home) or logical (“You can wear the jacket or carry it” equals a forced consequence of doing the extra work of carrying the jacket). Natural consequences are best because the are consistent and follow from the behavior every time, like being cold, but they are not always safe. Forced consequences can keep kids safe while still making a direct link between choices and the results. However, it can sometimes be hard to find a consequence for some situations. This approach may help (remember to take developmental stage into account though).



The “Energy Drain” approach was

created by Dr. Charles Fay

to give adults a practical

way of creating logical consequences

that teach responsibility. Simply stated,

the child (or teen) is required to replace

energy “drained” from the adult by their


Step 1Deliver a strong dose of sincere


This is so sad.

Step 2: Notify the youngster that their

misbehavior drained your energy.

Oh sweetie. When you lie to me (or

almost any other misbehavior) , it

drains energy right out of me.

Step 3: Ask how he or she plans to

replace the energy.

How are you planning to put that

energy back?

Step 4: If you hear, “I don’t know,” offer

some payback options.

Some kids decide to do some of their

mom’s chores– How would that work?

Some kids decide to hire and pay for a

babysitter—so their parents can go out

and relax. How would that work?

Step 5: If the child completes the chores,

thank them and don’t lecture (lecturing just kills the lesson)

Thanks so much! I really appreciate it.

Step 6: If the child refuses or forgets,

don’t warn or remind.



Step 7: As a last resort, go on strike OR

sell a toy to pay for the drain.

What a bummer. I just don’t think I

have the energy to take you to Silly

Willie’s Fun Park this weekend.


What a bummer. You forgot to do

those chores. No problem. I sold your

Mutant Death Squad action figure to

pay for a babysitter tonight.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: