Consequences: How Kids Can Learn From Their Behaviour


  1. What do you mean by consequences?
  2. Is consequence a negative word?
  3. Is a consequence always bad or are there good consequences?
  4. Are consequences good for children?
  5. What are examples of consequences?
  6. What is an example of a positive consequence?
  7. What are appropriate consequences?
  8. How do you explain consequences to a child?
  9. How do you discipline a child that won't listen?


Consequences are things that every child has to learn. Whether they like it or not, consequences for kids are necessary for them to be able to grow into responsible adults. While positive consequences will be due to good behaviour, negative consequences will be due to bad behaviour. We realise it’s sometimes hard for parents to manage their child’s behaviour so here’s everything you need to know.💪mother and daughter hugging


#1 What do you mean by consequences?


According to the Cambridge Dictionary 📕 a consequence is ‘a result of a particular action or situation, often one that is bad or not convenient’.

Consequences for kids means that something good or bad will happen because of something negative or positive they have done.

If they have lied to their parents, for example, this will result in a negative consequence. If they have done well in their exams, on the other hand, this will result in a positive consequence.👏


#2 Is consequence a negative word?


Consequences are often considered to be negative because they are strongly linked to consequences for behaviour, particularly when bringing up children. How many times have you heard, ‘There will be consequences!’ said as a kind of threat because a child is misbehaving?

In fact, consequences isn’t always a negative word, but it is commonly used as one. That’s why the word often has negative connotations.😔


#3 Is a consequence always bad or are there good consequences?


There are certainly good consequences for good behaviour. We can see this in our adult life as well as a child’s. Look at our examples of consequences table to see how they can work with good behaviour: 

Positive Behaviours



Your child does some housework each week.

Parent is happy and your child receives their pocket money.

Your child saves up to buy something they want like a small pet or some stationery.😃

You go to the office on time and work hard at your desk.

You get paid for your work.

Your boss praises you and you keep your job.😃

Your child does a martial art and attends class regularly.

Your child gets a new belt.

Your child is happy and proud of themself.😃

You are kind to someone who needs your help.

The person you help is grateful and the area of your brain called the striatum is activated.

You feel good.😃

Your child is gifted and works hard with a tutor to go to Oxbridge.

Your child gets accepted by Oxbridge.

Your child has a much better chance of becoming Prime Minister!!😂


These are just examples but this is a clear way to show a child the consequences of their actions. It’s a good idea to draw up a table like this when your child is unable to visualise consequences as it helps them see the potential results of decisions they make.


#4 Are Consequences good for children?


When implemented in the right way, consequencing is a good thing. Your child will be able to learn a number of important life skills: 👏

  • Learning from their mistakes: If they can see where they went wrong, they’ll be able to make better decisions in the future.
  • Strong work ethic: If they understand why it’s important to do their homework, they can carry this forward to when they actually get paid to work or have their first part-time job.
  •  Accountability: If they are able to see that they are responsible for the consequences of their own actions, they’ll be able to think through carefully before they make decisions.
  • Compassion: If they are aware that treating someone badly will make that person feel bad and treating someone with kindness will make that person feel happy, they will be more able to see things from other peoples’ perspectives.
  • Respect: If you treat people with respect, you are much more likely to get it back.


#5 What are examples of consequences?


There are two main types of consequences.

Natural consequences. As the name suggests, these are to do with things that will happen naturally from a certain situation. Here are some examples of natural consequences:

  •       Your child decides to leave the house without a coat. The forecast is rain. The child comes home wet.💦
  •       You’re your teen has homework. They don’t want to do it. They have to explain why they didn’t to their teacher the next day.😟
  •       Your child has a friend. Your child isn’t kind to that friend. The friend will find new friends.👭
  •       Your child plays football. Your child fouls someone. Your child gets sent off.

Logical consequences – This means that, as an adult, you have to step in often because of safety concerns. Here are some examples of logical consequences:

  •       Your toddler is having a tantrum. You leave the room. The tantrum stops because they are not getting attention from you.😭
  •       Your child is running along the pavement next to a busy road. They don’t listen when you tell them to walk. The child has to hold your hand.
  •       A child makes a mess. The child refuses to clean the mess during lesson time. The child has to stay in at break to tidy up.👎
  •       Your teen can only use the tablet for a certain amount of time a day. Your teen goes over this agreed limit. Your teen is not allowed to use their tablet for the rest of the weekend. 

#6 What is an example of a positive consequence?


It is true that good behaviour and good consequences for kids can often go unnoticed. We think that it’s just as important that good behaviour receives as much attention as bad behaviour. That’s why praising your child for the good decision they have made or the hard work they have put into something is necessary. 👍

We also think it’s advisable to give them extra one-on-one attention. Ask what they’d like to do with you and make the effort to do it with them.

Rewards are also a great idea– more time on the PlayStation, a day out or a voucher for something will send the message that you recognise and appreciate what they have done.  

These things should be done within reason, of course. If you find yourself going to Thorpe Park every time they help you with the washing up or do their homework, you might want to have a rethink! 🤔


#7 What are appropriate consequences? 


Focus on leadership rather than control where your children and consequences are concerned. Gabor Mate, a Hungarian-Canadian physician, believes if you focus on the latter, you’ve lost the battle. If you have a difficult teenager, it’s about trying to rebuild the relationship.

Once you have done this it will be easier to focus on what makes an appropriate consequence.

  1. Remember what you’ve said will happen. It’s no good having negative consequences for your children if you don’t follow through. In a moment of anger you might say, ‘No phone for a week!’ 😠 This might work for the first day but, unless you physically take the phone from them, it’s unlikely to be effective.
  2. Be clear. If you tell them to go to their room, let them know how long for so that the consequence isn’t vague and never ending. With this method, the worse the behaviour, the longer in their room they’ll remain.
  3. Make the severity of the consequence match the severity of their mistake. The consequence for five minutes over their allotted phone time shouldn’t be the same as five hours! ⏰
  4. Be consistent and fair. Although we know that there are many different types of parents and different types of children, wherever possible try to have the same kind of consequences for each wrongdoing. If you don’t, your children will protest, and for good reason!😠
  5. Be age-appropriate. It’s unlikely that your teen is going to sit on the bottom step of the stairs for time-out like they did when they were three. Likewise, a teen will often be aware of what they did wrong while a three-year-old probably won’t.
  6. Teach, don’t shame or embarrass. 😞 This is an important point because it’s where consequence becomes punishment. Children are still learning and need to know their behaviour may have been bad but they aren’t. Any shame or embarrassment can lead to low self-esteem, anger and anxiety. It’s better to discuss their actions and how they could deal with a similar situation in the future.
  7. Try to stay calm. 😎 We know how it feels. You’ve watched your child make the same mistake time and again and you’ve just about had enough. However hard it may be, if you are able to stay in control the consequence will be more effective.
  8. Draw up a list of consequences for misbehaviour. 📝 That way they will be fully-informed about what will happen if they do something on the list. It will also ensure that your consequences as parents are consistent.


#8 How do you explain consequences to a child?


Tell them that you are their parent and it’s your job to bring them up well. Consequences are part of this job.

Negative consequences and positive consequences are best learnt through giving your child examples of consequences. In this way they’ll be able to have concrete ideas. You could even role-play situations or talk about things that happened to other children at school as a result of bad decision-making, or indeed as a result of good decision-making.

Explain that the reason you give consequences to your child is because you love them and you want to prepare them for the world when they grow up and become independent. And that if you don’t do this, life will be more difficult for them.


#9 How do you discipline a child that won’t listen?


We know how frustrating it can be saying the same things to your child over and over again. Sometimes the reason lies with you. Maybe the message is unclear or too long. Keep it short and simple. 

You might also want to think about positive consequences for good listening. Giving them a choice may also work because they may feel like it’s a dialogue in which they can be involved rather than a monologue where they have to be passive. Lastly, make sure you listen to them when they have something to say. Their failure to listen could stem from them feeling like you don’t listen to them. Model good listening by focussing on them when they’re talking to you and not your phone or the TV.📺

Whatever consequences you decide on for your child, you can only do your best. We know that being a parent is hard work. We also know that children are a work in progress and this means they make mistakes because they are learning. Stay strong and your child will thank you for it one day! 🏆