A Tip for Picking an Effective Consequence

Posted January 27, 2016 by

A Tip for Picking an Effective Consequence

A frequent question we hear from parents is,

“What should I choose as a consequence?”

Our answer is always to choose a “task-specific” consequence. These are the consequences that will help your child practice skills and behaviors that need improvement.

Here’s an example of what we mean by task-specific.

For example, instead of saying,

“Clean your room now or I’m taking away your phone for a week!”


“You know it’s your job to keep your room clean. It’s still messy. If it’s not clean by dinner, you’ll lose your cell phone privileges.”

Hopefully by dinner the room will be clean. If it’s not, sit down with your child and tell him that he needs to tidy his room and keep it clean for 24 hours, in order to earn his phone back.

An effective consequence requires kids to practice a behavior that needs improving. Otherwise they are just doing time.

If your family is working on consequences, you might find this article helpful: Why Don’t Consequences Work for My Teen? Here’s Why and How to Fix It.

Thanks for being with us here. Feel free to share your thoughts with the Empowering Parents community below.

Need more help with consequences? You may like James Lehman’s video program, The Complete Guide to Consequences


Marissa is a proud mom to two boys, age 10 and 5. She earned her degree in Sociology from Saint Joseph’s College of Maine and has been a 1-on-1 Coach since 2011. Prior to coming to Empowering Parents, Marissa gained experience working as the House Manager of a group home for teenage boys, as a Children’s Mental Health Case Manager, and also spent several years working on the Children’s Unit at a Psych. Hospital.

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