Taking back a punishment

Watch Video: Taking back a punishment by Robert Brooks, PhD, ...
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Taking back a punishment

Most parents are going to give punishments that they realize, after a while, are too harsh. They ground the child for five years. They take television away for three years. Parents, afterwards, will say, "Why did I do this?" Then parents will say, "Should I back off? Is it giving in?" In reality, it isn't if you say to your child, "What you did was unacceptable." You want to make sure the child understands that the behavior was unacceptable, but then the parent says, "But my consequence was much too severe, so I am going to change that consequence." What the parent is doing there is modeling that we can be flexible, we can change. Basically, it is an apology, based on behavior. The child learns that if my parent can make changes, perhaps I can as well. The only precaution is this: If parents are saying every day, "I apologize. This is too severe." It would be like the child saying they were sorry everyday, but doing it again the next day. I have worked with some parents who say, "I keep doing it." Then, I say that you have to change that negative script. Your children will not accept your apologies or changes if you keep doing it.

Watch Video: Taking back a punishment by Robert Brooks, PhD, ...


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Robert Brooks, PhD

Therapist & Author

Dr. Robert Brooks is a psychologist on the faculty of Harvard Medical School.  He has lectured nationally and internationally and written extensively about the themes of resilience, parenting, family relationships, school climate, and balancing our personal and professional lives. He is the author or co-author of 15 books and has also appeared in several videos pertaining to helping children to become more responsible, self-disciplined, hopeful, and resilient.

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