Finding a Solution Instead of Issuing a Consequence

A mom explained how worried and angry she was when her teenage son did not come home from school one day and failed to let her know where he was. Although he has a cellphone, he forgot to call and let her know he was staying after school to work on a project.

When he came home, she told him the consequence for his forgetting to call was that he would not be able to choose any TV programs for the next week. He would have to watch whatever the other family members had selected.

How would this situation be different if instead of searching for a consequence to fit the crime, they looked for a solution? What solutions might work? Perhaps he could set an alarm on his cellphone for 5 minutes after school ends to remind him to call if he wasn’t coming straight home. Or he could write his after school plans on a calendar at home. He could leave a note on the kitchen table in the morning if he planned to stay late.

There are lots of possible solutions to help ensure the problem doesn’t occur again. If you were in this boy’s shoes, would you prefer having a consequence or coming up with a solution?

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