Keep consequences simple, logical and lecture free. For example, lately on Sunday mornings my kids have been dawdling and ending up being late for church. No big deal in the grand scheme of things. However, it's the type of the thing that parents typically get bothered by when it happens repeatedly. As parents we feel a responsibility to teach and guide our children towards respectful and appropriate behavior, such as punctuality.
So, this morning I informed them, "Hey pals: Whoever's ready on time just goes to church once today and anyone who is late will get to go to a second church meeting with me later today." (Oh horror!).
One sentence (no lecture), simple, logical, and because they know "I say what I mean and mean what I say" that it would be consistently applied (i.e., they know whining won't work to distract me from applying the consequence, which is another key parenting principle). Too often, good parents waste their breath (and energy) with explanations, pleading, scolding, threatening and guilt trips which all turn into long-winded, overly-involved, frequently escalated and mostly ineffective lectures. Keep it simple, keep it logical, and keep it lecture free.
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