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Consequences should relate to the behavior

Date: November 20th, 2014
By: Polly Bath

Do your consequences relate to the child’s behavior? Watch this video [1:37] for my thoughts on the topic.

Polly Bath: To change behavior, you need to have a consequence that addresses the action. If a child disruptes the classroom and I am unable to teach around him, then when I keep him for a 10 minute detention I need to explain that to him.

I would say, “What happened today was a breakdown in community. You weren’t being responsible, and it was really hard for other people to be able to learn around you. I know this stuff isn’t always what you want to learn, but it’s your responsibility to be here. Because of your behavior earlier today, I’d like you to organize that bookshelf for me, because it’s a little bit messy. As soon as you have that done, I’m going to go ahead and let you go.”

I want that child to give back to the community. It’s like a restitution model, because that’s how that system will be more tied into your building.

What can you have the child do to give back? Consequences are all about having a child give back to a community. And what he can do that will build his skill. A consequence should build the child’s skill.

If you’re an NFL player and you do something wrong and they charge you a half a million dollars, do you care? No, you write them a check and you move on. But if they tell you, “You can’t play in the next two games, and we want you to go and help clean out the locker room,” that’s going to matter.