How to Create a Solid Logical Consequence When There Doesn’t Seem to Be One

Dear Kid Whisperer,

I am a fifth grade teacher and the mother of two teenage sons.  I understand the difference between punishment and logical consequences and I try to always use logical consequences. My problem is that I sometimes have a hard time coming up with a logical consequence that fits the infraction. Any thoughts? -Allie Dayton, Ohio


Allie,

I’m right there with you. Sometimes certain things that kids do don’t lend themselves to a great logical consequence. For these situations, I delay the consequence, get really tired, and then have a Love and Logic® conversation like this one:

Kid Whisperer: Thanks for coming in and talking with me.

Kid: Whatever. Is this going to take long? They’re waiting for me to play basketball. It is my recess after all.

Kid Whisperer: How many times did I have to tell you to be silent when other people are talking to the group?

Kid: Twice.

Kid Whisperer: The problem is that I only have enough energy to say things once. Now I’m running low on energy.

Kid: Huh?

Kid Whisperer: You bet. I usually clean my floors every night, but tonight I’m not going to have enough energy to do that since I had to walk all the way across the room twice in order to ask you to be quiet. I’m going to ask you to clean my floor so that I can get my energy back.

Kid: I only talked to…

Kid Whisperer: Probably so. Feel free to go to recess as soon as you’ve given me my energy back. I’ll let you know when that is. Cleaning supplies are in the closet. Thanks!

Pray that they try to talk to you while they’re giving back your energy. When a kid in this situation tries to talk with me I just sigh and say these words. “Oh man. I usually love talking with you, but right now I don’t have the energy. Every time I have to talk with you it takes my energy. That’s energy that I’m going to have to ask you to put back. Let’s talk later.”

I find that one added benefit to doing this is that after I have done this once, often all I have to do to get a child to be compliant is to look tired, like I’m losing my energy, and the child becomes immediately compliant.

Allie, I hope this helps at home and at school!

-The Kid Whisperer