One of the most powerful “tools” a parent can own are rewards and consequences. Definitely more than once per week a parent will struggle with unwanted behaviour which causes much frustration all around scrambling to gain control to change this behaviour.

One problem with unwanted behaviour is rooted in inconsistency regarding rewards and consequences and I want to add what I expect as a parent from my child. A child needs consistency in order to know who is in authority. Another important little info is that unwanted behaviour always has to be replaced with what you want for your child and that is wanted behaviour and again, I cannot stress the word consistency enough in all you do.

The way we think and/or rationalise sometimes (I know I do) is that our children should have the understanding and intelligence that we do. They should know right from wrong, I only speak once and so much more. However, they do not! Their little brains need to develop, and guess what? This will not stop until the age of 25! Now it makes sense why our teenagers are so risky sometimes and making bad choices, and so we can go on with this important subject.

But for now, back to rewards and consequences. Let’s look at rewards for instance. When rewarding, I as a parent need to always be creative and look for those things that my child actually wants. Knowing that is a good attention-seeking tool that a parent can give their child. What do I mean by that. Your child will know that you are giving them attention. Don’t you sometimes struggle with how to give attention? It is just so time-consuming. I am tired, I have just walked in the door and now I have to give attention. What we do not realise is that the simplest thing means the world to our children. A smile and a hug are sometimes all they need to know that you noticed them.

When it comes to consequences sometimes we overdo it as parents. It is unfortunately so that we can dish out extreme consequences, in the moment of trespass. Why do we do this? The simple answer is that we dish out consequences when we are upset. We will always be on the wrong path when we do it at that moment. We need as parents to take time out (drink a cup of tea) to think about the wrong done in order to give the appropriate consequence. There is another huge mistake we as parents make and that is not choosing our battles. You know, when you ask your child to put away their toys or clothes and it is not done in the correct way, I actually want to say, so what! I need to be happy with the fact that my child listened to me and that he/she actually did follow through on the instruction I gave. It is just not worth the relationship to have it my way all of the time.

Harsh words? Maybe, but, what do I want? Do I want a happy, calm atmosphere that we all can inhabit as a family, or do I want an atmosphere that creates irritations and frustrations that will create bad behaviours all around? Something to think about.