Domestic Diversions

Out with the old: the parenting pendulum swings to teaching consequences by agreeing to contracts

CNN highlights Katherine Lewis’s “The Good News About Bad Behavior.” Lewis shows why punishment doesn’t work and outlines various approaches to helping kids learn self-control.

Elissa Strauss writes (excerpt):
“Punishment is something imposed on a less powerful person by a more powerful person. It sets up our children to want power and control,” she said. “Consequences teach us a lesson, and allow children to learn by the situation. What happens when I forget my sweatshirt? I am a bit chilly. It’s a cleaner lesson, and works much faster.”
For younger children, who tend to have worse judgment than their older counterparts, Lewis recommends creating a consequence contract. Together, parent and child can identify the bad behavior before it arises and then the child can suggest what he thinks the repercussion should be.


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