Reply To: Balance between motivation and creating entitlement

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I never have understood the argument that “consequences don’t work”. Consequences are simply the results we get from taking an action. Consequences show cause and effect, which is how the world works–no matter what we do (cause), there are results/consequences (effect); and they can be either good or bad results:

You don’t put your bike in the garage at night, it gets stolen. You do extra chores, you get a bonus in your allowance. You leave your gym clothes at home, you lose participation points. You get a B average, we pay your car insurance. You spend all your allowance the day after you get it, you don’t have any money to spend til the next allowance day. You contribute to the family (chores, etc.), you get to go on family vacations. You don’t pass your classes, you can’t graduate on time. You don’t register your vehicle, you get pulled over and get an expensive ticket. You don’t pay your rent, you get evicted. These are all natural/logical consequences. Are they ‘discouraging’? Yes, but that’s good! It’s a good thing for kids to learn “when I take certain actions, certain (bad/uncomfortable/unpleasant) things happen. If I want different results, I have to take different actions. That’s where motivation comes from—an internal desire to want different results and to be willing to take different actions to get those different results.

I think that we do kids a real disservice by not allowing natural/logical consequences to happen (like when we shield them or rescue them). Kids who do not learn that whatever they choose to do has consequences/results (good or bad) become adults who take no responsibility for their lives and feel entitled to that same kind of protection, bailing out, etc.

It’s true that when kids have ADHD or other executive functioning challenges, it might take a lot of repetition, and it may require a lot of your guidance in terms of pointing out the cause and effect to them, but I do believe they will eventually get it, and be better adults for it.

Joyce Mabe, Parenting Coach for parents of teens with ADHD, school counselor, mom of adult son with ADHD