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No Double Dipping !

Hi Mark,

First of all let me say, this program is awesome! I was desperate on what to do with my 16 year old daughter and I googled something (can't even remember what) and your website showed up at the top of my search. I only wish I would have found something like this years ago! My husband and I are starting week 3 of the program.I'm a bit overwhelmed with it all, but we have been trying to follow through with the assignments. What a difference staying calm makes!

Anyway, I have many questions but I am going to start with just one.

My daughter has been getting in trouble at school. In the past she has been grounded from going anywhere for detentions. Today I learned she received a two day "in-school" suspension for her third offense of disrupting class. What would you suggest as a discipline? Do I start with the one day discipline or go straight to a 3 day discipline since the one day would be less punishment than she has gotten in the past. Also, she doesn't go anywhere during the school week, so a three day discipline with no priviledges during the week and then allowing her to go to her friends this weekend does not seem strong enough. I would rather start the 3 day discipline on Friday. What are your thoughts?

Thanks for your time!




Hi A.,


A double-dip consequence is a consequence one step removed—a consequence applied because the parent is upset that a child has done something away from home that required somebody else to apply discipline. Double-dip consequences are very common, but highly inappropriate. An extreme example: A child is spanked for “earning” (and getting) a spanking from somebody else: unjust, unfair, and punitive.

Here are some examples of double-dip consequences:

· Disciplining your child because he was disciplined at school. You can and should talk about what happened, chat about the child's feelings (and your own), and brainstorm ways of avoiding similar situations in the future.

· Natural consequences often lend themselves to double-dipping. Be wary! People have a tendency to scold or discipline a child for letting a natural consequence occur. If Maurice's favorite toy breaks because he threw it against the wall, it's double-dipping (and inappropriate) for you to scold and berate him for breaking it. He will learn more from the natural consequence if you simply talk with him in a kind, firm way about what happened, how he (and you) feels, and how to avoid the situation in the future.

Mark Hutten, M.A.


Wow, I never thought of that before. I must admit it made me uncomfortable not to give her a punishment. My husband was not happy about it at all and was afraid that she wouldn't learn anything if we didn't give her any punishment. I gently reminded him that we have punished in the past for the detentions and it still didn't keep her from repeating the offense. So, we have decided to trust your advice! I think Megan was quite surprised that I was not upset when I picked her up. We talked about what happened and by the time we got home she admitted that she should have gotten the detention. Usually she just comes up with all kinds of reasons why it wasn't her fault. The only thing I did have her do was write an apology to the teacher for disrupting her class.

Thanks for your advice and I'm sure you'll be hearing from me again.



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