Do parents need to give consequences to discipline their kids?
December 11, 2023
In Episode 89, Kyle and Sara, LPC’s do a follow-up discussion on Episode 27. A lot of people have commented recently that parents need to be giving their kids consequences. We want to dive deeper into this topic to see it from a different angle. Sara and I explore different types of consequences and how a parent’s intent changes the entire equation.
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Episode 89 Transcript:
Hello and welcome to Episode 89 of The Art of Raising Humans. I'm Kyle.
And I'm Sara. And today we want to talk about Consequences, Part 2. You might be asking yourself, it's Part 2, where's Part 1? Well, if you want to go back to Episode 27, we dive into that quite a bit, and the reason why I'm following up with this is because with our recent success and people finding us more and more through the podcast and through the social media outlets, which, please find us on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. We'd love to have you follow us, we'd love to have you share your thoughts and comments on the reels and stuff. We're always trying to at least do three or four unique, creative reels to help kind of stretch out what we're trying to teach here. To not only grab people who have never heard of the podcast, but also for you as a listener, it just benefits you to see even more what we're talking about.
Model it in some way that hopefully is relatable. Yeah, yeah. Hopefully we're trying to be... Sometimes we hit it more than others.
Sometimes it comes out stupid. Sometimes it's fantastic.
We're trying, we're trying. We're trying.
So yeah, we love the feedback we've been getting from everybody about the podcast and about the reels and stuff, but we notice a lot of the ways that we want to do the podcast isn't just topics we come up with. We want it to be from people we are coaching regularly here in Tulsa, where we're at.
Also, people that comment and send us messages. We see all these things, we read these things, they help shape the podcast. So feel free to send those out to us. But one that came up over and over again was this concept of consequences. And every time we do a speaking event, Sara, everybody's pretty interested in what consequences do we do? Definitely. Definitely. I think, yeah, we want to get that right. Yeah, yeah. And why do people want to do that real quick?
That's the point of the consequences. Just real quick, I'm totally distracted by that. I remember back when I was early on in my getting training in how to do the perfect consequences. There are videos out there, there are sets you can buy, and courses you can take on the perfect way to do consequences.
Anyway, what was your question? I was saying, why is that so important? Understand, why do people want that typically?
What is it that they're seeking? Okay. Well, because that's how the belief is, you mess up. And one, if you have to have a consequence, or they'll think they get away with it, and they'll just keep doing that behavior. And it's the way to teach the child, they think, if I give you a consequence, you'll learn the right way to do something. Yeah. So I like to write, Sara, on the board when I'm helping clients that I'm talking to, I like to write on a dry erase board. So if you're listening to this right now, and you want to write this down, is write down the word bad, and that's just a description of the behavior the parent doesn't like or doesn't prefer, plus consequence, that could be punishment, grounding, whatever it is that's going to be done to the kid equals good. And just what we have seen in our many years of practice with families, through the research, through the people...
people we follow and read, that equation doesn't seem to work out, okay? It really is, kid does bad behavior and just for a lack of a better term, it's just behavior that the parent doesn't like, plus you add support, encouragement, guidance, discipleship, training, all those things, that equals good. And the reason why I love that equation, Sara, it's what I like as an adult. Yeah, yeah. You know? I mean, I think as soon as you see it, if you're in a place where you can physically actually write that out, when you see it, you just think, oh, yeah, that kind of makes sense. You know? And like you said, as an adult, if I do, if I mess up at work, whatever here, you know, wherever I might be, I mess up.
Someone yells at me even. Yeah. I will think, oh, I didn't like that. Yeah. I don't want that to happen again. Yeah. But if they come up and say, hey, you know, you kind of messed that up.
Let me show you this. Do you know if you do this and this? Yeah. And kind of walk me through it. Yeah. They could even say they didn't like what I did. You know, that just feels entirely different if a boss just yells at you or a boss comes along and goes, hey, that didn't go well. Yeah. Well, let me show you this. Well, Sara, any listener who's played sports, I know I played sports.
Yeah, that's a great example. And the coaches I preferred were ones who did just what you said. Yeah. Our kids have gone through sports and we've seen many different coaches for our kids. And the ones our kids always enjoyed playing for were the ones who were patient, who were calm, who were able to show them exactly how to succeed, not the ones who were who were reactive, who were yelling, who were constantly like, you messed up. You know, I remember Abby had a coach one time who pulled her off because she was distracted. And that the whole joy of Abby playing started to go away. And it was also she wasn't enjoying playing the sport anymore because this coach seemed to have some expectations and he did not want to support her to achieve that.
He just wanted to demand that she's changing. You either do it or else.
Or you're out. Yeah. And so I remember watching that and going, I'm watching as a parent.
I don't like that. I can't believe the little kids.
She was little. Yeah, she was like seven years old, man. And she was getting pulled off the field for being distracted. So so anyway, so those kind of things, we see that as humans, we feel it and we go, I wouldn't like that. But somehow with kids, we are kind of caught up in this this scenario. So for I know since we have so many new listeners here, I thought we'd just take a quick moment to kind of share kind of our background into where we're coming from on all this stuff. Right. It isn't just we read some books and we're like, hey, let's implement this and tell people about it. Right. So if you could, why don't you give a little bit of your background about where you're coming from? Okay. Very, very briefly.
I actually took some of those really great classes on punishment and consequences. Yeah. Yeah. So I kind of started out out there in that space. So that's what my undergrad is in. And then my graduate degree is not consequences, but I was going to say your undergrads in consequences and punishment?
That's a weird degree. No, it's all in, you know, in psychology and counseling. And I started working with kids and then I worked with some. young kids who a lot of those traditional,I have quotes around traditional. Yeah, they can't see you.Yeah, you know, those things that people call traditional.
And that was my toolbox. And I was given more tools for that toolbox in that same, but they don't work so well. Yeah. And I worked with kids who were, I mean, two year olds who are kicked out of daycare because they're so much trouble and a lot of these young kids and teenagers and just, you know, kind of the, they've been through a lot of trauma and they have a lot of behavior problems that a lot of people want them to stop. And, and then I started coming, I started getting some other kinds of training that were, that weren't based in consequence and punishment.
They weren't behavior focused. Yes. Yes. And those, I saw it was, I want to use the word magical, but I saw the impact that had on those kids' lives and the families and their relationships and the joy and the success that was happening within that. And it was hard. Yeah. It's hard.
Not saying it's easy. It's hard work, but I saw the reward of that. And so I knew in those moments that this is how I wanted to parent. Yeah. We didn't have kids yet, but that was what I wanted to do.
Yeah, that's great. And then, so my background is unlike you, I did go to school, not for a psychology degree, but for a theology degree. So then after that, then you and I went and got our masters together.
And that was awesome. That was a great journey and really started helping open up this idea of maybe being a counselor, you know, but then I went right into the elementary school counseling, you know, setting in a public school system. Didn't really want to do that, but it was the one job that I was able to do at the time. It just like, it was so easy.
It just flowed right at it. And so, so started working for kids, did that for seven years and found out, actually, I enjoy working with kids of all ages. It's kind of fun. And I enjoy, like you said, I noticed the ways in which the school system was trying to quote unquote, control the behavior instead of teaching and guiding the behavior. So along that way, then we was able to fly to Florida and learn from Dr.
Becky Bailey, who has a cool approach called Conscious Discipline. And we also, I got the privilege of journeying with Dr. Laura Markham and along that way, also got to read Dr. Cohen and Dr.
Siegel and Dr. Gottman, all these people, right? They were all more focused on emotion, focused kind of coaching rather than behavior control, you know? And so, so through that, I also, in our parenting, I was definitely going to come in to parenting, spanking and grounding and doing it. Why? Because that's what was done to me. So I assume that's what needed to be done. And that's still very popular in the school system. Sure. So you were definitely in an environment. I remember us having conversations and you telling me that what I was saying wasn't going to work, you know? Totally. It wasn't going to work.
I was, I was convinced that we at least needed some sticker charts. That's right. We needed to somehow keep track of their behavior and do sticker charts. Yes. And keep that.
So I very much was externally focused while you had already. moilÿÿkaha It was more about just stop this kid from doing this thing and get back to class. Right. And many times teachers were upset at me for trying to do an internal approach. And there are some that aren't. But you were in the system at the time that still had quite a bit of that going on. Yes. So, so we give all that as a background to what we understand in regards to how we're approaching parenting. And that leads us now to the idea of consequences, you know, and I noticed even one approach that somebody commented on.
It's a real popular approach. Maybe the listeners haven't heard of this, but is love and logic. Right. Yeah. So we actually, we did, we went to one of their trainings.
We went to one of the trainings. We actually got to listen to the author, one of the authors of the approach. And we wanted to hear. We wanted to make sure that we had a good understanding of first person, good understanding of what that model was. And the love and logic approach to us was better than, you know, it was less punitive. It was less fear based, you know, but it still was about external control. Now there was a piece of empathy involved in there, but there is still this big focus in love and logic about consequences, consequences, consequences. So I wanted today in just about the next, you know, 15 minutes in this conversation, Sara, just expand this concept of this, because I do think it's so hard for people to move away from them.
So I do prefer, I do like how Dr. Becky Bailey and some other people do talk about this, because I know Dr. Markham and her stuff, she doesn't really use them at all. I know even in our practice when we help coach parents, we don't really use it either. Right. But I know some people want to have a better understanding of what this looks like rather than just getting rid of it because we, we believe there's consequences.
There's always consequences. I was going to say, yeah, I was wondering if you were going to touch on that. There, there already are consequences. Every time we do anything, there are consequences. If I put on socks, there's a consequence for that.
My feet are warmer. My feet get really warm. If I wear a hat and socks, I'm going to start sweating. Right? Anything you do, you know, will have a consequence. And so it's really kind of a question, do we need to pile on the consequences to the choices our children make?
You know why we're doing this podcast? I'm drinking water and I'm thinking, we're recording this kind of late at night. And so that might be a mistake. Yeah. I will probably wake up tonight and need to use the restroom.
There will be a consequence. Right? So we understand there's consequences to everything. And actually we're deepening that discussion. Yeah. It's sort of instead of, it's like, do I need to add more or do I need to help the child learn what the consequences that already exist are? Do I need to help them see there already are consequences? Which ones do you want to choose? I actually don't need to add any. Yeah. Yeah. So, so, so a lot of these approaches like Love and Logic talk a lot about natural consequences or logical consequences. Okay. So we want to deepen that.
So we really didn't talk too much about that as much in episode 27. and then Becky Bailey talks about those plus imposed consequences, which really lots of times is what parents are doing. They're doing imposed consequences.
I know, I hear this all the time. When a kid gets in trouble at school, then the parent will hear about it from the teacher. And then they're like, well, they think the teacher expects them to do something too.
And I'll talk to these kids. They're like, man, I already got whacked by the school. And now I'm getting whacked at home. And every, whoever hears the news, if grandma hears the news, everybody's got to impose some kind of consequence. Yeah. They have to make sure this kid layer upon layer knows. Yes. And so just real quick, just to understand this, so natural logical consequences, most people can get that idea. So in a simple way, it would be something like kid doesn't want to wear their coat. And so the kid then gets cold, right?
That's a natural consequence. Or kid stays up too late, doesn't do their homework.
And the next day they get an F. Forget their lunch bag.
They don't have food. Or like the kid doesn't study for a test because he's messing with the phone.
All those are natural consequences. And then the impose one, though, is something like I'm going to take your phone away. I'm going to ground you from the video games. You're going to miss out on this thing.
So there are those. Those are happening. It's not to say there's never a time to impose a consequence.
You might do that. You might find out. We'll talk about ways in which we've even done that. The point we're trying to make today is I want I want you to focus on when you're thinking about consequence or how to deal with the situation.
What is my intent? So Becky Bailey would say there's three types of intent when we're thinking about consequences. Is my intent to punish the kid? Is my intent to rescue the kid? Or is my intent to teach? And so examples of each would be something like I remember early on, sir, our kids would be bedtime. And I remember you in particular be putting our youngest to bed.
She was just a baby. And sometimes I'd be working late and the kids would be watching a show or something. I guess the routine was they're going to watch a 30 minute show while you're putting the baby to bed and then come back. And so there ended up being a lot of a lot of upsetness, big feelings about this. Right. And they wanted to watch more and more and more and more. And it was very frustrating because the end of the day. Yeah. But when you're not home, you know, it's like that sort of single mom.
You've all been there. If you have little kids. Yeah. She's like, all right, this is what we're going to do to try to get all the pieces of puzzle together. You're trying to get it moving. And then there'd be all these big emotions and they were tired.
It's the end of the day. Screens aren't great for that anyway. But it was the best I could come up with. So an intent to punish would be, I'm going to make sure you suffer because you're making me suffer.
So you're upset. Yeah, I don't like it.
I'm sick of this. You know what? No more shows. You don't watch any more shows at night. Okay. Never. So from now on, what you're going to do is both go in your rooms quietly and sit there while I'm putting the baby to bed. I don't want to hear a peep.
This isn't actually what happened. But that would be like the intent of the show. The intent to rescue might be you're tired. nesota Just watch another show. Maybe they'll fall asleep and I'll just carry them to their beds.Dictionary I don't want to fight. Right. So it's really like I'm going to rescue them from the consequence, which the consequence being we're shutting offthe show and that's uncomfortable. The discomfort.The upset feelings.
I don't want to deal with that. I don't want you to deal with that.
Let's rescue from it. Right. So the intent to teach would look something like hey, here's the point of what we're doing here. OK, here's when we when I'm putting the baby to bed, I want to come back and I want us to turn off the show. And here's how I'm wanting you to respond.
And if we can't do that, that's OK. We may just need to figure out something else to do that can help you transition to sleep. Right. So all of that's being said in a very supportive way to help them succeed rather than saying, you know what, I wanted that to work and you messed it up. So now you don't get to do it. Right. And so our kids, we did do that. And I remember the kids like, no, no, no. We really think it does help.
Well, we need to see that it's helping. Here's how we're going to know is at the end. I want you to shut it off and I want you to say, hey, mom, I'm ready for bed, you know, and if we can't do that, that's OK. I understand. Maybe this is not something that we can succeed at right now. So we just don't need to watch a show. We can do something else. Right. So that's like an example of where we're creating boundaries around it, not to avoid the big feelings, but to help them be successful in the ultimate goal, which was transitioning to bed once it was time for bed. Right. Right. So so that's just one example of using those different types of intent.
Now, we want to say, like, we believe there is no magical consequence or technique that is going to work with your kids. So I know some approaches will say that the bigger emphasis is what is my intent as I'm about to, you know, react to this moment or respond to it.
Where am I coming from? Sara, lots of times I felt like mine was to punish. My intent was, you know, and your intent sometimes was to rescue or to punish. Right. Right. But we would come together and have discussions about this. You know, I remember lots of times we would spend our nightly talks and we have a whole nother podcast about this episode, about this, about how we would use these moments of conflict, like about the video, not the video games, but the shows or transitioning to sleep or whatever might be.
And I would say, I want to do this. What do you think my intent is? Right. Like, I remember the time when they wouldn't. I asked them to put up their toys when they were very little. And they surprisingly moaned and griped about putting up their toys.
It was time for bed. And I remember. Imagine that. A kid who doesn't want to pick up toys right before bed. I said, pick up the toys, let's go to bed. And they immediately started moaning and complaining. And then I said something really stupid. It just came out of my mouth. I said, you know what? If you don't want to pick up those toys, I'm going to go grab a trash bag. And I'm sure somewhere in my childhood, probably that was said so.
I'm going to grab a trash bag and I'm going to, I'm going to, and the kids out of fear were like, oh no, no, don't, don't do that. And so then they picked them all up.
Well, then I told you about them. I got the kids, the kids didn't want to pick it up. I told them this and like, bam, it worked. See, they picked them all up. But I didn't, I wasn't ready for what was going to happen next, where the next night I was working late and it, it didn't teach them anything.
Like they didn't learn anything. They had the same problem with you, but then when you tried it, because they see you as more of a softie, they didn't believe you were actually going to do it. So they know I'm not going to throw away their toys. But then you felt like you really had to follow through with it.
I know because I'm like, great, he set the stage. Yeah. So then, so then you go out there and you start to get the trash bag and the kids are like, what is mom doing?
This is horrible. You know, and I remember you telling me, and do you remember what I said to you that night when you told me? No. That was, that was just ridiculous. I'm sorry. That was stupid.
I should never have said that. And I'm going to fix that tomorrow. And so I knew I had used the intent to punish, it hit me when I saw the reaction. I had gone back to these old habits of trying to control their behavior by doing that equation.
They did something bad. I'm going to do something uncomfortable to them. It's going to equal good. But what happens all too often is that behavior doesn't make any long-term change. It just either, it continues to go the same way or it shifts into some other type of maladaptive behavior where they're not being cooperative in the sense, you know, we want them to be. So I remember the next day I spoke to them.
I said to them, Hey, I'm sorry. I did that. Mom. Sorry. She did that. We're not going to do that again, but you know what's going to happen tonight. We're going to pick up the toys and I want you thinking today about how to make that successful. So I'm going to talk to you at lunch today and I want to have some ideas how tonight is going to go well. And by that, I mean, I'm going to ask you to pick up the toys and you're going to put them up. And we had a great discussion and they were like, dad, you didn't give us any warning. Daddy, if you would've just given us more time or dad, if you, I was confused about how we were going to pick up.
There's so many toys. If you just help us. Okay. So you're saying if I give you a heads up, if I then come along and support you in it. Oh my gosh.
And it didn't happen again. You know, the next several nights in a row we did our plan and it worked out really, really well. And that was a reminder of me there. The intent was to teach and that shifted the whole conversation. So I want to kind of wrapping this up, Sara, a lot of parents that seek out our help do so because there is some type of behavior their kid is doing that is causing conflict in their home or school. Right. So maybe parents are getting a call from school or getting notes home and they're wanting this behavior to change.
So they want this to change. They want us or somebody else, a book or somebody else to prescribe or teach a foolproof way to change that. You want to feel, I don't, I remember even in counseling about that, it was like, just give me the five steps and I'll do them. Sum this thing up. That's right.
And that's what you're seeking to help your kid. And that's what you're seeking to help your kid.Dictionary. I can feel the need to rescue yourself and the kid from dealing with the conflict. Yeah. That I just want to get out of the situation. I just don't want to deal with it. You know? Ugh, is your intent to teach which Dr. Becky Bailey would say is based in love and trust that we can handle this moment.
We can learn and grow from it. Yeah, I love how she says that. And so I would just ask you as a listener to be noticing over these next several days it's Christmas time. So there'll be a lot of time with your kids, a lot of hyped up sugar kids.
Kids want- Tired. Kids are tired. It's regulated. They want gifts.
They're going to want snow. They're going to want like, you know, school's all crazy and the schedule's all weird, right? So I want you to notice when kids are doing behaviors that you quote unquote don't like or think are bad, what is the equation for you? Are you then adding on something that you're going to impose upon them?
And if you are, what is your intent in that? Is your intent to punish?
Is it to rescue? Or is it to teach and guide them? Because I think that's going to make all the difference in how you and that child grow from that moment. Instead of, I think the other way, when you just keep imposing them with the intent to punish or rescue, it just ensures that moment's going to happen again and again and again and again and again.
And everybody listening knows those moments. You can all think of what that behavior is and it's driving you nuts. So we want to help you change that. So if you find this kind of content helpful, like I said, find us on social media, share this podcast with your friends, comment, like it.
We'd love five stars on that. And we want to continue throughout this holiday season being there for you and your family. So I hope you'll check us out in a couple weeks when we'll have another new episode. We appreciate you.