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When "Taking Away Privileges" Doesn't Work

“No matter what consequence I choose, there are always other privileges my son enjoys, or even loopholes. For example, I was specific in that he couldn't use the computer or cell phone during the 3 day discipline; but he still has other privileges during those 3 days--like video games. Also, I didn't specifically ground him, so he visited a friend in the neighborhood (where he probably used his friend's computer), and I specifically said he lost the use of his cell phone, so he used the house phone instead (although for shorter periods). I was uncomfortable with this, but I didn't say anything because I didn't want to alter the consequence mid-stream. What do I do?”

When implementing a 3-day discipline, it is best that the child have no privileges + grounding. That is, no use of cell or land line, no use of computer, no use of video games, no leaving the house – and in the case where he enjoys hibernating in his room – no access to his bedroom except to dress and sleep. Otherwise, it is not an “uncomfortable” consequence. We want the consequence to “feel uncomfortable” to the child. 

If, for example, you put on an itchy sweater made of sheep’s wool and break out with a rash, you tend to take it off because it is uncomfortable – and you may never wear it again! If the child finds a consequence to be “itchy,” he may decide not to exhibit the behavior that initiated the consequence he’s allergic to.

1 comment:

Jeannie said...

My teen looks for loopholes in wording. Keeping him off all audio visual is as much a punishment for me. As I am having to be like a guard over all these items while my son paces like a caged lion. I have two other children that go on, he'll watch them. Instead I put him on work duty. I get the house cleaned, garden weeded. I restict his time on a/v along with work detail. Then make sure to keep him active in things he loves is huge. Two hours of swimming 2x a week and 2 hours a week doing parkour freerunning. Wonderful coaches are a blessing.


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