Jane Nelson suggests some alternatives to consequences. Positive Discipline focuses on helping children learn for the future instead of paying for the past.
1. Focus on the future instead of the past
One clue that we are more interested in punishment is when the focus is on the past rather than the future. The focus is on making kids pay for what they have done instead of solutions that would help them learn for the future.
2. Focus on solutions instead of consequences.
Instead of imposing consequences, involve children in thinking of solutions. It is a mistake to think there must be a consequence for every behavior, or that consequences will solve every problem.
3. Get kids involved in solutions
Kids are our greatest, untapped resource. They have a wealth of wisdom and talent for solving problems when we invite them to do so. The benefits are numerous. They have the opportunity to use and strengthen their skills; and they are more likely to keep agreements in which they have ownership. They develop self-confidence and healthy self-esteem when they are listened to, taken seriously and valued for their contribution. They experience belonging and significance. When they feel belonging and significance, they feel less inclined to misbehave and more willing to learn from their mistakes with optimism.
4. Help children explore the consequences of their choices through curiosity questions
Exploring is different from imposing. Curiosity questions help a child explore the consequences of his or her choices in a way that leads to solutions. What happened? What do you think caused it to happen? How do you feel about it? How can you use what you learned in the future?
5. Allow consequences instead of imposing consequences
If a child doesn't study, failing may be the obvious consequence. Allow the child to experience his or her feelings. Avoid rescuing. Show empathy. When the child is ready, use curiosity questions to help the child explore what the consequences mean to him or her.
6. Allow suffering
Adults should never make children suffer, but allow them to suffer. Through the suffering, they can build their "disappointment muscles" and gain a sense of capability in the process. For example, if children don't get the toys they want, they may "suffer". This will not hurt them and may have great benefits. These great benefits come from validating feelings without rescuing, allowing a cooling off time and then involve children in solutions, in advance through family meetings, routine charts, wheels of choice,etc.
7. Decide what you will do. Inform in advance.
I will listen to you when you use a soft voice.
8. Follow through.
No words, just act with kindness and firmness.
9.As soon as_____ then_____
"As soon as you clean up, then you can go outside"
10. Take time for training
View misbehavior as an opportunity to teach skills. Your child will let you know what teaching they need!