Published On: October 23, 2014

A positive consequence can be your best friend because it reinforces and encourages positive behavior. Positive consequences (or rewards) are things your child likes and enjoys. When used correctly, a positive consequence will increase the frequency of positive behavior.

If you only give negative consequences or punishments, you run the risk of becoming a negative consequence yourself. Studies show that parents who balance negative and positive consequences are seen as more fair and reasonable by their children. If you consistently use positive consequences, you’re probably more pleasant and effective with your children, and they are more likely to listen to you.

Here is a list of positive consequences that work:

  • Activities: Everyday activities your child enjoys (playing video games or baseball, watching sitcoms, baking cookies, reading)
  • Possessions: The things your child wants (sweat shirts, baseball cards, comic books, dolls, CDs)
  • Food: Favorite snacks (popcorn, popsicles, pizza, pop, candy, fruit juice)
    NOTE: Do not use meals as a negative consequence; for example, do not take away a balanced meal and make your child eat bread and water. Children have the right to proper nutrition. When it comes to consequences, food refers to special snacks, etc.
  • People: The individuals your child wants to spend time with (friends, grandparents, cousins, mom, dad, teachers)
  • Attention: Positive acknowledgment (hugs, smiles, time together, compliments, high fives,
    thumbs up)

This list is just a start. If your child has other interests or is always talking about doing something he or she has never done before, you can make that into a reward, too.

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