Parenting is difficult under any circumstances. Raising children in most environments brings up issues. However, the challenges of parenting are amplified when it appears that your child is not worried about the consequences of their actions.
When we grew up, consequences were the one way that our parents disciplined us. Whether it involved taking away privileges or mentioning how our behavior reflected badly on the family, these consequences were often enough to straighten out kids in previous generations.
However, modern parents are starting to find that kids are less worried about the consequences of their actions. Or that is how kids come across to their parents. What can you do if your child does not appear to care about consequences?
1. What is Really Going On?
It is a common complaint from parents lately. “My child does not care about anything.” However, is that truly the case? If your child misbehaves and you say they are grounded for the night, they may respond by saying “I do not care.” They will storm off to their room and not say another word.
Simply because your child said they do not care does not make it true. Kids try to maintain a certain image around their parents, especially as they get older. Pretending they do not care is one of the ways they try to maintain this image. Assess your child’s behavior after you deliver a punishment. If it changes for better or worse, it means your child cares.
2. Are the Consequences Sufficiently Important?
It is difficult to discipline your child. You love your child, and you want them to be happy. However, being a parent sometimes means making tough decisions. If your child misbehaves in a serious way, the consequences should mirror those actions. For instance, if your child got into a physical fight, grounding them for a week is an appropriately harsh consequence.
However, the opposite can also happen. If you offer harsh punishments at the slightest misbehavior, your child may stop caring to follow your rules. They will start to think that any mistake will result in a huge punishment, so they may as well not try at all. If your child makes a small mistake or does something slightly inappropriate, scolding may be sufficient. You do not have to lay down the law all the time – or it could lose its power.
3. Are Your Punishments Time Appropriate?
If your child cheats on a test in school and gets caught, you will probably punish them. But if your punishment is only for two days, your child may feel their actions were worth that punishment. Ensure the time frame of your punishments, whether it is a grounding, taking away their cell phones or other action, corresponds to the severity of your child’s misbehavior.
4. Is There Another Way to Get Your Point Across?
Not every child reacts well to punishment, especially continuous punishment. If nothing you do is working, you may want to try a new way of getting your point across. Try being positive, understanding and upbeat with your child when they do something wrong. Maybe that is the key to getting your child to listen to you!