Privileges/Responsibility

When you have difficulty thinking of some logical consequences for you child’s misbehaviour, it is often earlier to think in terms of privileges and responsibility. Privileges and responsibility go hand in hand; if your child wants a privilege then s/he has to take the responsibility that goes with that privilege. If s/he won’t take responsibility, then s/he loses the privilege for a period of time.

Because we are teaching our kids to take responsibility, they need many instances to practice. For this reason the amount of time that they lose the privilege for initially should be short and lengthened every time the privilege is abused. The whole process may go something like this. The parents might say, “You are allowed to use the computer for 1 hour every day. It is your responsibility to use your time wisely so that you stay within the 1 hour limit. I will tell you when it is 5 minutes to end time and then I’ll tell you when your time is up. If you choose  not to get off the computer, you will use your computer privilege for the next day.” Then the parents would have the child repeat this rule. If one day the child goes over time, the parent says to the child, “I see that you are choosing to lose your computer time for tomorrow.” and then the parent follows through with this the next day. If the behaviour reoccurs, then the child loses 2 days of computer etc. When the child sees that the parent will follow through in a fair, firm but kind manner, s/he will soon respect the responsibility that goes with the privilege. …And yes the child may tantrum but the parent calmly but firmly says, “I know your upset that you can’t use the computer today. You can try again tomorrow.”

Here are examples of privileges and responsibility:

Privilege Responsibility
Having toys Cleaning up after playing with them
Using the car Putting gas in the tank
Riding a bike Putting bike away after use
Going out with friends Being home on time
Using the computer Staying within the time limit for use
Watching TV Respecting limits
Having a cell phone Keeping within the terms of the plan or paying for it
Going out to a restaurant with the family Showing appropriate behaviour

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