How To Play The Consequence Game?
Mis à jour : janv. 31
In my office, parents always complain: “Kids don’t make their bed. They let their toys all over the place. They refuse to help me for housekeeping. Doctor, they are so undisciplined. They make me crazy. I don’t like to yell after them, but it happens. What should I do? ”
In 35 years of family medicine practice, the most frequent question from parents is How to raise children? Years of observation thought me that being too permissive was as damageable as being too strict. Solutions should be realistic, effective and easy to implement. I will present you my parents’ favourite tips to take the control over their children and keep it while loving them. It is the Consequence Game.
Here are the rules of this discipline game.
To play you need to gather some material:
Green, yellow, and red sheets of paper or cards
2 large cookie jar or boxes
Light lunch with your children’s preferred food
How to Play?
Select a good timing to play and be prepared to have fun.
Decorate the two jars or boxes with magazine photo representing good and bad behaviours. Let your child comment on their image choices. Then, glue these images on the two boxes.
Explain to your child that they will fill the jars with bad or good consequences. Let them imagine consequences such as “Go to be an hour later than usual” or “Can’t watch hockey game next Saturday”. Tell them that they will have to pick one consequence at a time if their behaviour respect or not defined families’ rules sand values.
There must be only one consequence per paper. Have your children read aloud each consequences. Help them to stay realistic. Most of the time they are too severe for themselves.
All members of the family must write at least 5 green, 5 yellow and 5 red consequences on their paper. A green consequence is a light consequence and a red one is more important. Example on a green positive consequence, a child could write: ¨Have mom read me two bedtime stories”. A red bad consequence could be to stay at home during the next week-end without visit from friends.
Have fun and fill all the boxes. If you have a young child and a teenager, you may have two sets of boxes.
Continue to play until the boxes are full.
Some parents fill their own boxes. Kids love that because even mom and dad needs time out once in while.
Rule of Gold: all consequences should be free. For example: Having a brand new fireman truck could not be a good consequence. This could be written on wish list for Christmas or birthday. It let the message that you don’t need money to set creative rules in your house. All physical consequence are banish from the boxes. Setting rules and discipline is much more effective without any form of violence and abuse.
Where to let the boxes?
I recommend to let the Consequence jars in the kitchen.
When make your child pick a consequence?
Set the rules with your family. Tell them when and why a family member will have to pick a consequence in one of the jar. Here are some examples:
Good consequence: A child helps to set the table.
Bad consequence: A child refuses to put away his toys.
Why to use green, yellow and red cards?
I recommend to use a green card for a light consequence, a yellow one for a moderate consequence and a red card for a severe one according to the behavior you wish to change or to approve.
What are the values of this game?
More positive than bad consequences given which build self confidence.
Acceptability of consequence as they put in the jar.
More quiet family atmosphere.
With time, child will change his behaviour to pick a good consequence and stop bad behaviours.
Consequences based on intensity of behaviour instead of intensity of parents’ feeling .
Feeling of equity.
If parents have boxes, their behaviours will improve as parents.
Family atmosphere will rapidly changed and all members will be more happy to follow the rules.
How to go over resistance?
If one or all of your child refuse to play, set the table, have a great lunch, and tell them that you will start with your boxes because you want to become better parents. Never forget that your children imitate you much more than they listen to you.
Let them fill your boxes.
Stay calm; they may decide to have their own boxes. Offer them to fill the positive consequence box first, then the negative one.