Disciplining children can be a difficult job. Different developmental ages need different sets of parenting guidelines and frameworks. Parents face a hard job when faced with how to discipline a child who doesn’t care about consequences.
This only becomes more frustrating when your child starts to show, in no uncertain terms, that any consequence or reprimand you issue is to no avail.
Worst still if your child refuses to cooperate or shows defiance when you’re trying to constantly be positive with them it can be difficult to see a way out.
How To Discipline A Child Who Doesn’t Care About Consequences
1. Use a consequence that is REAL!
Children are smart and they can smell a lie or a fib from a mile away. Instead of trying to use a consequence that in reality won’t come to light, tune it back a little and find that middle ground consequence.
For example, you’ve got a 5-year-old and he’s being disruptive. You issue him a warning to “Get off the computer tablet or he’ll be banned for the rest of the day”. This, although a valid consequence, is not likely to be actionable. Your day may have just started and he knows that either you won’t be able to watch him all day or that you’ll forget.
Instead, a simple 2-hour ban or 1 app game deletion will suffice. This is clear, manageable and leaves little open for discussion.
2. Repeat the same Consequence over and over and over!
It’s easy for a child to see a chink in your parenting armour if you aren’t consistent with your approach. If you are banning him from TV today for biting and then tomorrow you are only taking away his 3rd favourite toy, guess what you child’s gonna continue to test your boundaries.
Instead, focus on real and actionable consequences that you can regulate time and time again. For example “Your Computer Tablet is banned for 2 hours. Keep up this behaviour and it will be banned for 4 hours and 1 more game will be deleted.”
It’s simple and effective. Plus if you continue to repeat the same disciplinary consequences time and time again you’ll be able to hand them out without even thinking about it.
i.e. When your washing dishes, setting the table, serving dinner and washing everyone’s hands all at the same time you might forget what consequence to use for misbehaviour. Now you already know it’s 2 hours computer tablet ban, without compromise
3. Face to Face Problem Solving
Set your child down and create a list. Focus on what he can do instead of being defiant. “If you get upset putting your toys away what can you do differently instead of kicking them all under the chair? “
Generate some ideas with him, ‘Maybe you can on take 2 sets of toys out, that way it will be easy to put back’ or “maybe you can keep your toys in the box so in that way they are already half packed up”
Although this sounds simple it can work wonders and these conversations will help your child with problem-solving skills and seeking alternative resolutions. Even if it only helps to clear toys away before dinner, it’s worth it!
4.Start something new together
Learning how to discipline a defiant child shouldnt always be aimed at finding constructive ways to punish them. Instead, try this smart strategy to regain control. of children who are showing defiance.
Learn a new skill together (baking cakes, playing basketball, portrait painting etc This bonding time will serve as a negotiation point in the future.
Sometimes the parent-child relationship can be overwhelming especially when your child no longer cares about the consequences of bad behaviour.
Instead, try showing them you have more things in common than not and emphasis the trust you’ve both built learning something new and exciting together.
Children learn associations the same way adults do and this new activity is a great leverage point. You should always try and frame your consequences to disruptive behaviour in a polite yet informative manner.
For example “I’ve asked you twice now to put that down and you haven’t listened. If you’re not going to listen to me now, then how are we going to paint together later? I had a really cool idea I was going to share with you”
It’s a More friendly tone and the emphasis is placed on learning something fun and new together to avoid disruptive behaviour now.
5. Be a Role Model
If you are emphasising tidiness and cleanliness to your child but then you leave your paperwork to pile up and it’s lying across the kitchen table like a broken Jenga, tower chances are your child will do the same.
Too often parents enforce rules that they don’t live up to themselves. Of course, you are the one in control here and to some extent don’t need to go over the top, but focus on parenting by example and showing through your actions what should be done and how to do it.
For example, If you want your child to have less TV time, try and show him by trimming down your TV yourself (at least whilst your children are awake) This is a perfect example as although your TV time is not at issue here a child will see you say something and then do something totally different. If screen time is an issue, limit your screen time and you’ll see how quickly your child falls into place.
Children learn a significant amount from their environment and the best way to get your child to care more about the consequences of their actions is by showing them that you follow what you teach. There can be little to no argument if they see you practising what you preach.
It’s not easier job learning how to discipline a child who doesn’t care about consequences. If you are consistent and follow the above guidance you’ll be better equipped to proactively parent and regain more control of your child.