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The 5Rs of Consequences

When your child misbehaves, consequences should not feel like a punishment. By following the guidelines of the 5Rs, it is easier to show that your consequences are fair and logical. Children must feel that the undesired action or behavior justifies the consequences. When parents share their expectations, they are giving their child the choice of following through and control over the situation. Be consistent and follow through with consequences every time.

Defining the 5Rs

  1. Respectful: Don’t convey blame, shame or pain.
  2. Related: The consequence needs to be related to the behavior. This puts control and power in your child’s hands.
  3. Reasonable: The consequence, like a time-out, must be reasonable in duration.
  4. Revealed: The consequence should be made known in advance in order to establish expectations.
  5. Repeated back: Your child should always repeat back the rule or consequence to ensure understanding.
     

4 Steps for Revealing Consequences

When using the 5Rs, you can create a scripted conversation to establish expectations.

Action Prompt

Step 1: State the problem or concern.

“I’ve noticed we’ve had some problems with…”

Step 2: State the expected behavior.

“Next time, I want you to …”

Step 3: Reveal the consequence.

“If this happens again, then…”

Step 4: Ask the child to repeat back.

“Please repeat back to me what will happen if you don’t…”

 

If your child repeats the action or behavior, avoid the “I told you so attitude,” and allow your child to “save face.” Making your child feel pain, shame, or blame will cause them to shut down. Instead, you can transform this into a teachable moment.

Source: Adapted from Positive Parenting Solutions

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Learning and School, Family Support
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