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Getting Consistent with Consequences

For this week, I would like to share an article authored by Educator and Best-Selling Author, Mike Anderson.

- Original Article Link -

This article dissects the concept of consequences and punishment and falls in line with our philosophy on learning and behaviour management at Legacies Academy. Not only does this article offer a perspective shared with Legacies teachers, but it can translate to a household and family dynamic. Keeping in mind the article is written for teachers and faculty within school systems, it will take a bit of creativity to relate these situations to household ones. We can help with that.

This quick summary will give you a better idea of the content of the article. However, I strongly encourage you to dive into the whole article it! There might be something that speaks to you and your family.

"Consequences" Means Different Things to Different People

Anderson defined two types of consequences as well as punishment, offering an opportunity to step back from the emotions and reactions that drive our differing opinions on appropriate consequences. Although we might have a good idea what the difference between Natural Consequences, Logical Consequences and Punishment are, Anderson’s descriptions make it crystal clear. Also, if the definitions were not quite clear enough, he gave real life examples from a classroom setting. This is where your creativity will come in handy. The examples from the article are not exactly the same as a household situation, but with a little thought we can apply the concept to behaviours seen at home.

We Try to Get Consistent with Consequences

Before We're Consistent in Beliefs

Anderson identifies how "wildly different ideas” can cause educators [parents] to deal with the same situation in different ways. Anderson explains how we have different ideas about consequences than our spouse or colleague because the core beliefs a person holds are built from a variety of personal experiences. Since our core beliefs are built from experiences (and because our emotions impact pur experiences), everyone experiences life differently. Different experiences tend to lead us toward different conclusions about appropriate consequences.

We Want Consequences to "Work"

But Haven't Defined What That Means

In this section, you will find clear explanations of what consequences can and cannot do. More clarity!

We Miss the Middle Ground

As parents, we can read these words and both believe and understand them. That does not necessarily mean we know exactly when we get caught on one end of the consequences spectrum (don’t use them at all) or the other (overuse). If you feel stuck, annoyed or exasperated with behaviours, it could be a matter of finding the middle ground. In this section, you will read about what it feels like in a classroom [home] for both the child and for the adults when you are in the sweet spot. More importantly, Anderson says the key to finding the middle ground is to start by thinking about how the consequence feels for the student/child.

We Act with Emotion, Not Reason

Yes, we do. Sometimes we do not realize the extent to which our past experiences drive our beliefs today.

We Misunderstand Consequences' Role in the Big Picture

Anderson talks about how the role of consequences is not to instil remorse or shame. Instead, it is a tool that can be used to help the child to have great relationships with you and others. Managing behaviours in a busy home can be very challenging. There is no doubt. This article might be just the catalyst you needed.

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