We resently went to a kids’ arcade/restaurant, and when my children ran out of tokens, they had huge tantrums in the middle of the place. I’ve heard that I should make my children be responsible for their own behavior, but how do you get them to do that? How do you teach that? Would logical consequences be appropriate to use for a child that is grade-school age? How do you let a larger child have his big feelings without damaging someone or something? And how do you enforce consequences, natural or logical, when your child is in the midst of such emotion? I just wanted to get in the car and go home!!!
I do want to say that I don’t like to talk about “logical consequences” until children are older (over 10, and really more into the adolescent years), but love the way Jane Nelson, in her book Positive Discipline, has changed her wording to talk about “solutions.” This is what I have always believed in – a proactive approach for handling or preventing the situation next time. So, if a 10-year-old doesn’t come in when it’s time without a big stink, maybe next time he needs to stay inside and not have the opportunity to not be successful at coming in. When he is ready to take responsibility for his attitude and cooperation about coming into the house, he is ready to try again to show me he is ready for that privelage and responsibility.
I have a problem with the idea in our culture that children are entitled to things. No one is entitled to anything. As my children grow in maturity, I give them more opportunities to be successful at new and expanding things. When I overestimate their readiness, I pull back and reconsider. Because I want to set them up for success, I don’t want to ask more of them than they are ready for. And I have explained to them that privileges come with responsibilities. Until they are ready to handle the responsibilities, they aren’t ready to handle the privileges.