The ADHD Smarter Parenting’s Podcast

Ep #55: Reducing bad behavior with Effective Negative Consequences

December 30, 2019

Consequences for bad behavior are a part of life. Learning how to give a consequence that will reduce your child’s negative behaviors takes some learning as most of the consequences parents give aren’t effective. 

Giving Effective Negative Consequences reduces problems and allows parents to teach instead of punishing.

What makes a consequence effective? Using the five components: immediacy, size/degree, consistency, important, and varied; of the behavior skill Effective Negative helps parents give consequences for kids that work to reduce negative behavior and family stress.

Immediacy means that the consequence should be given as close to the negative behavior as possible so they can connect their negative action with the consequence.

Degree/size means that the consequence should match the behavior. This one is difficult for a lot of parents as we tend to give consequences that are disproportional to the negative behavior.

Consistent means giving a consequence every time a negative behavior happens. Consistency is very comforting to children as it teaches them that they can trust you and that you’re disappointed in their behavior and not in them. 

Important means that the consequence needs to matter to your child. If you are giving consequences that don’t mean a thing to your child, they aren’t motivated to change their behavior. By giving consequences that matter, your child is more likely to stop the negative behavior. What matters to each child will be different and may take some trial in finding out precisely what is essential to them.

Varied means that you should give a variety of consequences. If parents give the same consequence for all behaviors, the consequence loses its effectiveness over time. By using a variety of consequences, you are ensuring that they are all valid.

Reducing bad behavior with Effective Negative Consequences requires parents to not only understand what makes a consequence effective but also how to use the behavior skill of Effective Positive Rewards in conjunction with Effective Negative Consequences. In the next podcast, Episode 56 will discuss Effective Positive Rewards. Rewards and consequences go hand and hand, and parents need to understand both to be effective.

For more information about consequences for kids and making consequences effective, visit the episode podcast page on

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