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Is Work a Good Consequence?

In our family, when someone earns a negative consequence that usually means they earn an extra chore. A woman wrote me a question about using chores as negative consequences. She said:

"One question my husband had was that when you have a consequence it is quite often an extra chore. His thought is that this would make the children hate doing chores, that they would never want to do a chore unless forced to because they were the means for discipline. Have you found this to be true or do you have suggestions in this area?"

Thank you for your question. Many parents have shared this same concern. Since your husband asked the question, I had my husband answer it.

"In ours, and most other families experience, we have found this not to be the case. My children enjoy work and have regular chores to do on a daily basis as well as extra chores if they earn them. Work is part of our daily regiment. Doing work to serve the family is an antidote for selfishness. Samuel Smiles , author of "Character" , says that work is the antidote for a sick character. My suggestion is to give it a try and see how it works in your family. You can always choose something else for a negative consequence, such as loss of a privilege, but all children should know and learn how to say ok to an instruction from a parent. If your children already have a bad attitude towards work, this is an indication that work may be the perfect solution as a consequence for your family.

For minor offenses, such as not following an instruction, or not accepting a "no" answer, the negative consequence would be a minor task or chore suitable to the child's age level. Only when using the "Rule of Three" for out of control behaviors, would major maintenances, such as cleaning the garage, etc..., be part of the negative consequences." ~Spencer Peck


Nicholeen Peck is a popular public speaker, television personality, and author. Her blog is Teaching Self Government. The BBC show of her family can be found there, as well as answers to frequently asked parenting questions. To buy her book click here.

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