Skip to Content

How to Use Consequence and Privileges Effectively

How to Use Consequence and Privileges Effectively

© sjhuls | Dollar Photo Club


Raising kids requires a lot of work, especially when it comes to teaching them right from wrong. Although there are many different things you do throughout the day to teach morals to your kids, one way you can do this is to use a consequence and privilege behaviour system. This allows you to punish negative behaviour while also allowing you to reward positive behaviour. If this sounds like something you’d like to do, here is how you can use consequences and privileges effectively.


Set the Rules

A consequence and privilege behaviour system needs to have rules in order to be effective. When starting your system, sit down with your kids and explain to them what you expect. You’ll need to mention the specific behaviours you’ll be looking for so that there are no surprises when your kids are punished for something. For example, if you’ve been dealing with backtalk, you might make this a behaviour that would earn a specific consequence. Alternatively, if you want your kids to do more chores, then you can award them with a privilege for successfully completing a chore.

Make the Punishment Fit the Crime

When deciding on punishments for your consequence and privilege behaviour system, make sure the punishment fits the crime. Too harsh of punishments can frustrate your kids while too lax of punishments might encourage them to continue misbehaving. Because you don’t want either of these things to happen, you’ll need to find a balance so that your consequences are effective.

Set Attainable Goals

In order to use privileges effectively, set attainable goals for your children, especially when first starting a consequence and privilege behaviour system. If you set the goal too high, your kids might feel frustrated, thinking that they’ll never be able to reach their goal. This might cause them to give up. Instead, set doable goals that they can attain. For example, you could set it up so that they need to do one chore in order to get their TV time. You can then give your children the chance to rise up to a challenge, letting them know that if they do an extra chore, they extra TV or video game time.

Be Consistent

If you want to use consequences and privileges effectively, then you need to be consistent. By being consistent, your kids will know what to expect each time they show a negative or positive behaviour. If you don’t use consequences every time your child does something wrong, they’ll start to think that it’s ok for them to do. Alternatively, if you don’t reward your child each time they show a behaviour you want them to have, they might not see the benefit of continuing their positive behaviour.


Using consequences and privileges is a great way to help encourage positive behaviour in your kids. Do you use consequences and privileges? I’d love to hear your stories!



Elva Roberts

Friday 2nd of October 2015

I know this sounds simplistic, but I just expected my children to behave. I would have been surprised if they had not. My husband and I set good standards and expected them to do the same. Of course, this does work with toddlers. I was very lucky in that three of our five children were very easy to work with. The second and fifth, not so much. I had to be firm and consistent and praise when I 'caught' good behavior. I had the good fortune to buy a book by Dr. Haim Ginott. He used to write columns on rearing children for the Ladies' Home Journal many years ago. I read several of his columns and was so impressed with them, that I bought the book. Basically, he taught when your children were over the toddler stage, you treated them as you would like to be treated. I did that and had family councils where they could bring up problems, etc., and we would come up with a compromise that would work for all of us. They all turned out to be good family people and compassionate so I guess we did ok. We had problems, of course, but we are all good friends now. .

kathy downey

Monday 26th of October 2015

Attention span is short on some kids and they honestly forget from one punishment to another,sit and discuss issues of unapproved behavior with them one on one

kathy downey

Sunday 30th of August 2015

My grandson is going thru a stubborn stage,and time out are helping some

Jackie M

Friday 28th of August 2015

I think its important to explain why they were wrong and have them understand. Otherwise, they won't understand what they did wrong. Being consistent and reasonable is key for sure!

Dandi D

Monday 24th of August 2015

These are some really good tips. My son is going through a very testy and stubborn phase right now.

Elaine Buonsante

Friday 21st of August 2015

It is so helpful to see these principles set down easy to lose sight of them in the heat of the moment.