Ben hates it when he hears the word punish but completely understands that there are consequences for his actions. The word consequences is accepted without a fuss. As parents, we are always teaching our children and sometimes consequences are the best teachers of all.
Natural consequences work the best. It doesn't make sense to make someone write over and over again I will clean up my dishes, but having to make a meal with a dirty plate is a natural consequence. There are times we have asked Ben to write as a consequence but we always use a positive phrase so he knows what to do and not be reminded of what he already did. For example writing "I will use kind words" is positively reinforcing but writing "I will not be mean to my brother" doesn't tell him what you want him to do. Writing consequences also help with handwriting practice. Two for one!
One night Glenn Jr. was teasing Ben about something and as a consequence of his behavior we required him to attend Ben's Special Olympics basketball practice with us. We were going anyway and it did not inconvenience us at all but it changed Glenn's life. We always say it was one of the best consequences we ever thought up! Glenn fell in love with the participants and ended up coaching for 2 years until he went away to college. Glenn and Dan have always felt super comfortable around anyone with a disability having been immersed in the disability world early in their childhood. While other people would shy away from the student in the wheelchair at church, Glenn would be caught zooming them up and down the hallways to loud laugher and squealing.
As Thomas Jefferson said “When angry, count ten before you speak; if very angry, a hundred.” Try to not blurt out a consequence before you have had time to stop and think. If you say something too quickly you have to follow through or you lose credibility. Taking time to consider the consequence allows you to put a plan in place that will help the child learn and not punish you instead.
Life can be hard, and training a child in the way he should go can be exhausting, but there are lessons that need to be taught and behavior held accountable that can make a world of difference in the long haul!
Hang in there!