Consequences of Consequences

Using the imposition of "consequences" as a parenting technique has its own unintended consequences.

This page is a stub, created on 2020-04-07. Its contents are notes on the issues and angles I want to address about this topic.


When you use the imposition of punitive "consequences" for children as an attempt to correct behavior or the granting of positive "consequences" to encourage behavior, the effect may be immediate compliance ("good behavior"), but often at the cost of encouraging an orientation toward short-term punishments or favors, dolled out by an authority figure, risking power struggles, and undermining the development of internal discipline and self-regulation that would otherwise come from grasping causality.

A parent's job is to be a collaborative guide in a child's growth into an adult. Certainly, parents cannot treat children as though they are already adults; instead, they ought to treat children as adults in developmentally appropriate ways, where a child learns how to be an effective, healthy, well-adjusted adult over time.

Unfortunately, today, many parents treat their children almost as non-human entities (their feelings don't matter, they must simply obey authority, they have no bodily autonomy, they must "respect" their elders, etc), and then we're all wondering why they can't adult good when they suddenly turn 18.