Six Things to Know about Consequences for Breaking Rules


  1. Consequences are not punishments. They are the results that come from a child’s decision to break a rule.
  2. Consequences are created by an adult in order to teach children important lessons about their behavior.
  3. Consequences should be directly connected to the rules they apply to.
    • Rule: Homework must be done before dinner.
    • Connected Consequence:  No TV is allowed in the evening, if a child chooses to do something other than homework after school.
    • Disconnected Consequence: No movie on the weekend, if a child has not done homework before dinner during the week.
  4. Consequences should be explained to children in a very direct and understandable way when a rule is first put in place – before it is broken.
  5. When consequences are in place, children are faced with the choice: follow the rule or put up with the consequence. They are in charge of what happens to them.
  6. Creating consequences connected to house rules is not always easy, but it is worth the brainpower because consequences give children lasting lessons.
(See Sticking to the Rules for more information about consequences.)