Implementing consequences lets your child know you're seeing them through loving eyes.
Recently I was rear ended while waiting at a red light. As I looked in my rearview mirror I saw the face of a panic stricken teenage boy who slowly dropped his head into his chest.
When he got out of his car he was nervous and very apologetic—clearly experiencing his first accident at the ripe old age of 17. My mind flashed to him telling his parents the news knowing that could add to his anxiety about the whole incident. I went through this same situation with my children, specifically with my son, years ago.
I did what I could to calm him down so he could get back in his car and get home safely.
The repair estimate was not that expensive and knowing what an accident from a new driver could do to his parent's insurance, I asked if they wanted to handle it without the insurance company being involved. The answer was, "Absolutely!"
Consequence With Love
Both parents came to my home to deliver the check for the damage. They asked for a copy of the repair shop bill so they could give it to their son—he was going to be paying them back.
They told me, "We always want him to know that certain parts of life comes with consequences, even if it's an accident. In this case, he needs to know we know he's a better driver than this and when behind the wheel, paying full attention at all times is what's expected of him."
There was a gentleness and strength to these parents that was just lovely to witness and having their son pay them back really was a consequence with love.
Uncomfortable With Consequences
Unfortunately, consequences are not always something many parents are comfortable implementing. And because of this they can end up with repeat offenses from their son or daughter while getting angrier and more frustrated by the situation.
Maybe you're someone who struggles to implement consequences from time to time only to find yourself feeling frustrated, angry or powerless. I've talked to plenty of parents over the years to know you're not alone in this area and the reasons are varied.
Perhaps you're concerned about being perceived as mean or lacking compassion. Maybe you're afraid your child will stop speaking to you. There could be fear they'll walk out the door and never come back.
These reasons and any others you come up with are enough to stop you from creating a consequence—no matter how appropriate it might be.
A Different Perspective
When the intent is done as the parent's above did—consequence with love—there's a very different energy around the message being sent. A message that starts out as a gentle reminder—do that and this will happen. A message that gives someone an opportunity to do better next time.
There's no lashing out, no threats, no drama. Just a clear, concise message that comes from a peaceful place inside because you know it's the highest good for all concerned in the long run.
Consequences with love allows both people—the implementer and the receiver—an opportunity for emotional and spiritual growth.
When you have the courage to put consequences in place and follow through, you're making several statements:
- You want the circumstance to be better.
- You want each other to do better.
- You want to better yourself because by honoring what's best for you and the relationship as you build your consequence courage muscle.
Keep the following in the back of your mind so it's a little bit easier to move forward with a consequence when hesitant:
Consequences are one way to let someone know you're looking at them through eyes of love - which can say different things depending on the circumstance:
- I know you're more capable than this.
- I know you're better than this.
- I know you're stronger than this.
- I know you're more loving than this.
- I know you're smarter than this.
- I know how much you matter to the people in your life.
Even if you don't know any of that about yourself, yet.
Linda Salazar, founder of Your Heart Is In Your Hands, is a Relationship Coach, author, speaker and media personality, working to help you have remarkable relationships with all the people in your life.
Experiencing heartbreak? Struggling to have loving, compassionate, supportive relationships? Download Linda's free report to discover your innate relationship style. Contact Linda 310-375-4800