Help! Why are my consequences making things worse?

Some parents find that when they use consequences for misbehaviour, it makes the situation worse or leads to other problems. Kids thrive in a world that is predictable and has guidance and structure, so it’s important not to stop using consequences. You might just need to change the way you give them.


There are some kinds of consequences that lead to other problems. If you find yourself shouting at your child for misbehaving, it can lead to a shouting match, and it just makes the behaviour worse.


Sometimes parents wait until their child’s behaviour is unbearable before doing something about it. Parents are more likely to overreact when this happens, and kids might learn that they’ll only get in trouble when their behaviour is really bad.


It’s also no good making a threat but not carrying it out. If you tell your child that you will turn the TV off if they continue to jump on the couch, but then don’t do it, they’ll learn that you don’t follow through. They might even start to test you to see what happens.


Consequences are more likely to work if you use them with strategies to increase desirable behaviour. Make an effort to notice when your child is behaving well.


It’s also best when a consequence occurs immediately after the event because it’s easier for kids to understand the link between the misbehaviour and the punishment. 


Be consistent. And always remember to praise behaviour you like.

Stepping Stones Triple P’s Seven Steps to Positive Parenting

This hot parenting topic sure is a conversation starter! It relates to Stepping Stones Triple P’s third step to positive parenting: “Use assertive discipline.” Read more about the seven steps to positive parenting. Here are more hot parenting topics to get you thinking about how to use assertive discipline:

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