So this is going to be a shorter training today to give you one specific tool to start implementing right away and start to see results. But let me tell you a little why I wanted to use this.

I recently read a really popular parenting book that is SO good in SO many ways.  However, it suggests using a couple warnings before you follow through so that your child has a chance to change their behavior. When I read it, I thought “This sounds really great and I’m going to start using this in my home.” We started using it and we saw really good results pretty quickly. But then after a couple of weeks we literally started hearing our kids say, “Oh, you get to ask me one more time before I have to do it.”

I thought, “No! That is not the point of this.”

Today, Jeff Tesch, LMFT is going to teach us why warnings are sabotaging our parenting and what we should do instead.



Jeff Tesch, LMFT

What Could Cut Misbehavior in Half

I had two families in yesterday. Both of them have kids that are out of control. Some of the hardest stuff that I’ve seen.  The kids in the family we very, very defiant.

The parents had tried taking everything away to motivate the kids to behave better.  But as I got to know them better I found that both moms were giving all kinds of warnings and all kinds of second chances. So I told both of them something I have been saying a lot lately and I truly believe this.

If every parent across this country stopped using warnings, second chances and giving into fits, I think half the behavior in all of our kids would disappear.

I feel that strongly about it because I just see it over and over, year after year, and family after family.  That once parents stop giving warnings and second chances before giving a consequence, a child’s behavior drastically improves.

The Problem With Warnings

Warnings and second chances simply allow negative behaviors to continue. Kids know when they’re parents are serious.  They will continue to use unwanted behaviors until they know that you are serious.  I have kids in my office admitting to me that they know when their parent is finally serious and that they just don’t care about warnings. Giving warnings is a process that really gets parents worked up.

What if your kids knew you were serious on the first ask?  How much frustration, nagging, anger, and yelling would that save you?

Why Parents Give Warnings

In some cases, parents give warnings because they are trying to be nice and patient.  They don’t want their child to experience an uncomfortable consequence because they hurt when their child hurts.

In other cases, parents give warnings because following through with a consequence can be really inconvenient.

What to Do Instead of Giving Warnings

We can cut out all that middle stuff where we’re wearing out and it’s not providing anything by just not using warnings. If you’ve been clear with your child about an expectation, they know exactly what’s expected, then do not use a warning.

Example: If you teach your child very clearly, “you may never hit your sibling.” You should never, ever say when that child hits, “If you do it again, there’s going to be a consequence.”

If the behavior occurs, use the consequence immediately.

What About Second Chances?

The second chance thing is so similar to warnings. Let’s use the hitting example again.  Your child hits their brother and you say “Uh oh, you hit your brother.  It’s time for your consequence.” Then your child starts saying “Please, please. One more try. I’ll do better. I promise I won’t hit. I’m so sorry. “ And even comes and gives us a hug and an  “I love you mommy”. It can be tempting to give him another chance! I get it! I’ve been there.  However, that leads to the child begging for a second every time, which is a lot of hassle.

If a child breaks a rule, we just need to follow through with a consequence immediately.

How not giving warnings helps YOU now and YOUR CHILD in the future

As a parent, you could experience so much less frustration with your child if they obeyed on the first ask.  You’d also enjoy your home a lot more if your child learned not to use negative behaviors.

Also, your not giving warnings teaches your child about the reality of life. When we make a mistake, there’s a consequence. We don’t always get another chance. How much pain and suffering could you help your child avoid by not using warnings?

Now, you don’t have to make the consequences huge like we taught in this post. You don’t have to beat them down with a consequence, but a consequence immediately following the misbehavior will teach the child not to repeat that behavior.

What to Do Now

Talk to your families about what the family rules are and what the consequences will be for breaking rules.  Then that’s really the end of the conversation unless you feel things need tweaking.  Other than that, it’s time to stop talking and start acting.  Then watch as your child learns to be responsible for their own choices, to think before they act, and to do what you ask on the first ask!

Happy Parenting!

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