When it all goes wrong – severe consequences step in.
Severe consequences are for when your child’s negative behaviours continue beyond acceptable limits after other consequences have been used consistently, and after two strong warnings.
Severe consequences are not punishments! Some or all of these consequences happen immediately and are non-negotiable; but at no point are they a punishment. Remember that your child is choosing and is usually more in control of their behaviours than we (and even they) probably realise. They also will be testing the boundaries and seeing if you stay firm and keep your end of the agreement.
Stay calm and take action immediately.
- Down tools and stop coaching for that day. Walk away and have a calm and pleasant time without your child. You can shut yourself into a room if you can’t actually ‘walk away’. Removing yourself from the situation helps you stay calm, and also immediately stops escalation of any further arguments or discussion with your child. Being briefly alone is a time to think about what happened, and what needs to change. Think about your own thoughts and behaviours as well as your child’s. You are in control of your thoughts and actions aren’t you? Changing what you are think and do will often change your child’s behaviour.
- You can stop coaching and all agreed-upon privileges for longer than a day until you have decided what you will do to help your child develop ‘good student’ behaviour and stop ‘bad student’ behaviour. When you remove privileges until coaching resumes, your child will realise that when you said that privileges they receive depend on how they behave, you actually meant what you said.
- Take as much thinking time as you need to decide what needs to change. Ask yourself, “What can I change to help my child develop into a good student?” Often the changes you decide to make are small ones that are surprisingly effective. Focus on what is within your power to change. For example, after checking your own behaviour and responses to your child, look at the positive and negative consequences in place, and the time and place you coach in. Gather ideas from trusted advisers around you, and read my other posts. My book ‘How to coach your children to be excellent students’ also has useful and easy to use strategies that can stop many negative behaviours children use.
- Make a new coaching agreement or amend the old one with your child if you realise that the coaching agreement was not working well because it did not cover all important circumstances, or did not have effective consequences.
Tend towards being neutral with your attitude and words. Don’t gloat, blame, or ;feel particularly upset when they choose a negative consequence. Instead, use a neutral tone, and statements that include “you just chose to…” so that responsibility is clearly placed with your child, and you are never in the position of the nasty punishing coach.
Don’t be overly enthusiastic, encouraging, or relieved when your child chooses ‘good student’ behaviour. Instead praise briefly using a matter-of-fact and business-like tone. Then you give your child the message that ‘good student’ behaviour is normal student behaviour.
Save warm and extended praise for big changes in behaviour that are consistently happening for a while.
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