Child sticking her tongue out while being scolded by her mom

Dr. Sarah (00:02):

Ever wonder what psychologists moms talk about when we get together, whether we’re consulting one another about a challenging case or one of our own kids, or just leaning on each other when parenting feels hard, because trust me, even when we do this for a living, it’s still hard. Joining me each week in these special Thursday shows are two of my closest friends, both moms, both psychologists, they’re the people I call when I need a sounding board. These are our unfiltered answers to your parenting questions. We’re letting you in on the conversations the three of us usually have behind closed doors. This is Securely Attached: Beyond the Sessions.


Hi, welcome back. This is another awesome episode of Beyond the Sessions from Securely Attached. We have Dr. Rebecca Hershberg. We have Dr. Emily Upshur. So, okay, so a few weeks ago we recorded an episode on what to do when your child doesn’t listen when it’s a matter of safety.


In this instance, and you can go back to this episode, it was a toddler who was eating blueberries and leaving them on the ground for her baby brother to find. And the mom was worried that the baby would choke, but she didn’t know how to set an appropriate consequence for her toddler. And in that episode, we were really focused on helping this mom reframe the problem and shift from trying to figure out what consequences to use to instead thinking in terms of how do I incorporate more guidelines and rules and responsibilities to help scaffold the situation for her daughter. But in our conversation in that episode, we also mentioned that there’s maybe a whole other episode that we could do about when consequences really are appropriate and effective, and then how do you actually implement them in real life because consequences and punishments and discipline can be super confusing for parents, especially in this age of gentle positive parenting. How do you do that while still not being permissive, but how do some parents think the only way to not have authority is to be very punitive? It’s confusing. I think parents are getting a lot of mixed messages on how to effectively discipline kids. So let’s pick up where we left off and I think it could be helpful to start by maybe describing some common instances that parents might find themselves in or consequences are going to be useful. So maybe Rebecca, do you have any ideas of examples of that? What comes to mind?

Dr. Rebecca (02:36):

The first thing that comes to mind I think is separate from a specific example. It’s the idea that consequences are a tool that can actually be helpful. The goal is it’s a consequence for a behavior, but the goal is still to help your child learn something valuable. They need to learn about that behavior. So what comes to mind for me is physical aggression, not for a two year old, not for a three-year-old, but for let’s say a six or seven year old who sometimes when they get really angry may hit or scratch. To me, that’s a great time to have a consequence because it will help them learn that that behavior is not okay. And we do need them to learn that. And again, being on a podcast is a lot less nuanced than an individual session where I might ask what’s going on and there might be a situation just to say off the bat where it’s not appropriate.


However, I’m not saying it’s like across the board, I wouldn’t need to know a kid and family and all the rest, but you really need your six and seven year old to learn that when they hit, if they’re angry, they’re going to be at that age. Social consequences for that and potentially school consequences for that. And to me, it’s okay to have a very logical consequence, which is we leave where we are. Let’s say it looks like it’s too hard to be at the playground right now. Right? Again, it’s not sort of like that’s the consequence, and I feel like it’s always important to talk with families about that. You want to tell your kid a consequence in advance, right? It’s a behavior you’re working on, right? It’s a behavior that you have noticed is an issue for your kid and you’re coming up with a system to address that behavior, and part of the system is positively reinforcing when they’re not doing.


There’s a lot of things to it, but part of the system is, and here’s the consequence, if that behavior happens, the consequence might be leaving the playground. If a child is being aggressive, the consequence of whining your way through breakfast that you hate breakfast might be that you end up skipping breakfast that day because you run out of time. Some of it is sort of just a natural consequence the way something might unfold, and some of it can be something predetermined, but I think the phrasing is so important because where I hear a big pitfall of parents, and I know I’m sort of touching on a lot of different things at the same time, but it’s kind of phrasing it as sort of like, well, I told you this would happen, or That’s what you get. We talked about this. That’s what you get.


As opposed to, Ooh, this was a hard morning. You had a really hard time just accepting what was for breakfast, even though we talked about it last night, and so now there’s no time for breakfast. I know tomorrow will go better or I know you’re still on your child’s team. I think there’s this misconception that when there’s a consequence as a parent, somehow you’re setting yourself up as an adversary against your kid. And that’s why there’s reluctance to do it, and I think a misconception about it when in fact a consequence is a behavioral tool and it’s also something that’s just the way the world works and to that end can be pretty seamlessly integrated into gentle parenting, positive parenting, whatever we want to call it. I’ll stop there. I’m not entirely sure that made sense, but I will let you guys be the judge essentially did. Yeah.

Dr. Sarah (05:56):

There’s many things that you said that I want to circle back to, but first, Emily, I want to hear what you’re thinking about this too.

Dr. Emily (06:02):

Yeah, I mean same with me, I think, I guess I’ll reorganize myself. I was thinking Rebecca, at the end of what you just said was so important. They’re holding that experience for them as non-punitive, but also if often they displace the blame on you, and now you made me late for school because I didn’t get the breakfast that I wanted, and I think we can still say, yes, it was really hard for you to pick a breakfast and now you’re going to be late for school, and that’s hard and just validate that moment. That is the natural consequence. I always say to parents in sessions, that’s kind of the punishment. You don’t need to punish more. The punishment already sort of happened, right? They’re going to be late for school. They’re upset about that, and that’s the natural consequence slash if you reframe it as punishment, there’s no need to say, revisit it in this more punitive way.


And I think that is an important thing about not taking it to that next level of the way we interact with our kids around it. But I wanted to circle back before I got excited by that comment. I wanted to circle back to the pre-teaching, pre-planning concept. I think that’s so important. I think obviously when we are in individual sessions and we can be a little bit more attuned to the specific needs of each child, but I do think it’s important for parents to be attuned to the specific needs of their child when thinking about consequences and when thinking about environments that we put our children in, if we know that going to the bouncy trampoline park is really overstimulating and really difficult for your child and it’s always going to end in a problem, there’s two approaches. Either you pre-teach like, oh, it’s really hard to go to the trampoline park tomorrow.


You have a birthday party there. Let’s talk about either curtailing the time there or what will happen if you get dysregulated or all these things like pre-teaching, but also pre-planning. So you’re pre-teach them like, this is what might happen, this is what’s going on. This are some of the things we’ve seen in our repertoire of experience, and here are some of the plans that we might play out. And I think it can get complicated. So I think it’s always useful for parents to sort of play out some of those scenarios, troubleshoot, what if they last for an hour, but then they conk out? What if they insist on staying till cake? What if they just can’t make it past 15 minutes? What if their best friend comes and it all settles down again? I think it’s really, really important, and that’s why it’s very tricky for parents with discipline and consequences is there’s a lot of variables in the equation, and as many as you can think ahead of time and try to and with your kid, I think the better. Of course, that can’t happen in all scenarios, but if we do see some sort of patterns like this family that we were mentioning in last podcast where this keeps happening, then we can use those as teaching moments for how to play out the consequences that might happen.

Dr. Sarah (09:17):

And I think you bring up a nice point, Emily, which is there’s kind of layers to this planning. There’s the internal planning that a parent might do. I’m going to look for patterns. I’m going to identify trouble spots, right? I’m going to anticipate when my kid’s going to have, I know this is an area where my kid struggles in, and then I’m going to imagine all the ways that it could go south internally by myself, not necessarily with my kid. I’m going to think of, okay, what are some of the things that might make my kid more vulnerable to being aggressive or losing their cool or doing some behavior that I know that we’re working on reducing. If I can reduce their vulnerabilities before we get there, making sure they had a snack before their birthday party, making sure we had a little time that was quiet and relaxed.


Maybe I’m not making sure we’re not rushing to the birthday party. I know that could be a trigger for a lot of kids. Anything that we could do to kind of lower the vulnerability load going into that potentially friction filled space. But then I’m going to think about, okay, what else could go wrong? What’s my plan if it does, I know what my plan’s going to be. And then thinking of a couple things that my kid might be able to have, build some insight around. And that’s when I’d bring in the conversation with the kid and say, okay, hey, we’re just like you said, Emily, but before I even do the step with the kid, I would do some internal stuff and I’m going to know, okay, what’s my bandwidth? What’s my threshold if my kid hits someone? And am I going to really be able to calmly walk up to my child, pull them aside, remind them that this was the consequence and calmly go knowing that my child might have a really hard time with me holding that consequence. Some of it is a parental regulation plan too,

Dr. Emily (11:25):

A hundred percent.

Dr. Sarah (11:26):

Because the other thing, and this is what Rebecca was saying that made me think, oh, I want to come back to that was the difference between a planned consequence and a reactive consequence. I’m super guilty of that. I think we all are of we hit our limit. We’ve been super patient, we’ve been trying really hard to sidestep meltdowns and it’s been a tricky day and all of a sudden we hit our breaking point and now we’re throwing consequences at kid. More like a threat, more like a, if you don’t do this or if you do this one more time, that’s it. I’ve definitely done that for sure, but I think it’s way more effective when you can present it in advance and it’s more of a piece of a much more complex strategy.

Dr. Rebecca (12:14):

For addressing a behavior that’s an ongoing issue. Sure, if your kid out of the blue does something egregious, there might be a consequence that you couldn’t plan. But most of the time when I talk with families about consequences, it’s because there’s a pattern of behavior that doesn’t seem like it’s just Mona Delahooke talks about bottom up versus top-down behaviors and consequences are most effective for top-down behaviors, meaning that there’s some cognitive awareness to it. It’s not like your kid is going out and hitting on purpose. Obviously they’re losing control a little bit and there’s an impulse issue, but it’s not in the context of a complete dysregulated meltdown that’s coming from let’s say a sensory issue or a nervous system issue. And I think that’s important too because in my book about tantrums, I sort of talk about consequences as much as they’ve been thrown out generally across modern parenting philosophies, which I don’t think is appropriate, they’re also not appropriate for emotional expressions that kids may not be able to control.


So for example, a tantrum, I don’t think a tantrum or even aggression within the context of a tantrum. I don’t think consequences are going to be effective for that. And that’s another thing that I always talk with parents about is can we track it? No one wants to do a consequence if it’s not going to be effective. The whole point of a consequence is that it decreases the likelihood and frequency of a behavior. And so if you’re talking about dysregulation, there’s no reason to think it’s going to be effective. If you’re talking about a behavior that has some level of regulation attached to it, or it’s just so egregious that it’s just not acceptable, your kid starts hurling glasses at a restaurant or something, then it’s a consequence. But I think it’s more like, I’ve noticed my kid has a hard time doing this and I’m going to add, as you say, a consequence to part of this larger structure of addressing that behavior and we’re going to talk about it and they know that they’re going to lose 15 minutes of screen time if this happens and we talk about it and when it happens, it’s not like, well, you knew that would happen.


It’s just sort of like, oh, bummer. That’s 15 minutes of screen time. This is a system we both agreed to. If it’s an older kid, you can both sign off on it. Kids love contracts as opposed to what you’re talking about, a reactive consequence, which is sort of, I don’t like the way you’re acting. And so you lose your iPad for the whole night, which is just not going to go over that well for good reason. Plus, you’re going to end up saying something, your kid’s going to say, I don’t care. And you’re going to say, well then for tomorrow night too, you up forbidding their iPad for the next year. And everybody knows it’s just about anger and not about reducing a behavior, which is what consequences are a tool for.

Dr. Sarah (15:02):

And then you can get into a really slippery slope of if you are having these reactive consequence deliveries, often oftentimes you get pushed to say something that you can’t actually follow through on or you don’t actually want to follow through on because hey, maybe you do want your kids to be able to have some screen time on Saturday morning so you can sleep in or whatever. So it’s like you also, the reason why it’s so important to think about consequences in advance and have them sort of planned out in advance as something we all are aware of as part of this plan to reduce this behavior and build this skill is that you can pick a consequence that one is relevant to the situation, is motivating to the child. They have buy-in, they want to avoid losing this thing or they want to earn this thing or whatever.


But also you can enforce it because you know what you’re picking. A lot of times when we’re reactively doling out consequences, we don’t actually follow through on half the things we threaten because we don’t want to actually take away screen time for the whole week then, or we don’t actually want to, we are not going to not take them to the birthday party that we are RSVP’d for and know that that would be socially misaligned if we want to show up to that birthday party and not cancel last minute. So obviously there’s certain circumstances where I’d be like, you know what? We can’t make it to that birthday party. My kid can’t handle this right now, so we can’t go. That’s one thing, but it’s just about…

Dr. Rebecca (16:34):

Well, it’s like I think of canceling and Halloween and canceling Christmas, right?

Dr. Sarah (16:39):


Dr. Rebecca (16:39):

Forget it. You’re not getting any presents for Hanukkah this year. Meanwhile it’s like October and that’s obviously not going to happen.

Dr. Emily (16:47):

I always say, you got to leave some money in the bank, is what I say to parents.

Dr. Rebecca (16:53):

I love that expression.

Dr. Emily (16:55):

Then you have nothing to negotiate with. If you take it all away, then what’s the incentive? The kid’s like, screw it, I’ll be back. Okay, then what do I have to lose? Nothing. You just took it all away. So I always say to parents, you got to leave money in the bank and you also don’t want to take something away to Sarah, your point that shoots you in the foot or something you really want to do. We’re not going to Disneyland, but you really want to go to Disneyland with your…

Dr. Sarah (17:21):

Or, you bought the tickets and you’d be out a ridiculous amount of money.

Dr. Emily (17:25):

Exactly. And I think that idea of having more measured curtailed consequences and bits and pieces like Rebecca, 15 minutes of screen time, or I’ll even say five because then you got five more times to build up to 15 to have this be a consequence. But I think what parents really struggle with is consistency myself, everybody, because these situations are sometimes unpredictable, sometimes they’re predictable and we’ve talked about and sometimes they’re not. So that’s when you end up in the, I’m taking away your screen time for the rest of your life kind of situations. And I think again, thinking about what are your child’s incentives, what’s motivating to them, and then having them in your mind, just in the back of your mind always as broken down into more measurable categories can help with that consistency. And they start to know, if I have X, Y, and Z behavior at a birthday party, we leave.


But you got to be consistent about that. And I think that that pre-planning and breaking it down into measurable chunks and sort of communicating some of that to the child in terms of pre-teaching them what will happen during certain things when possible, but also pre-teaching yourself, I’m going to take away this amount of these things if this happens, is part of the trickiness of being on your, I call a game parenting really being on your A game so that you can not be reactive, have thought through some of this, and then sort of lay it out in a more reasonable fashion.

Dr. Rebecca (19:01):

Yeah, I agree with all of that, with everything that you both are saying. I would just add two things that just occurred to me as you were talking, Emily. One is with consistency, of course, we all have to strive for consistency, and if you’re putting a new consequence plan into place, it pours. It’s most important that you’re consistent kind of in the beginning and that your kids get it. And just to go back to something we’ve talked about a lot, kids actually feel safe when there’s a plan in place and you stick to it and you’re consistent, even if they’re angry in the moment. There’s times you can’t be consistent. And it’s just important to name that to say, this is a time that we would typically leave the birthday party, but it’s 25 degrees outside and daddy needed the car for something, so we’re going to stay because here we are, we can’t leave.

Dr. Sarah (19:51):

But you’re naming what would’ve been…

Dr. Rebecca (19:54):

You’re naming it. You’re not being inconsistent and here’s why I’m making a decision, or it can be part of a repair. I know I told you we weren’t celebrating Christmas. I was really angry. Of course, I’m not going to stick to that. Let’s be, and then the other thing I wanted to mention, it comes up a lot with families of younger kids that I work with, is I would never recommend taking away an attachment object as a consequence. So I will have parents say, I have no leverage, which is just an interesting phrase in and of itself, but I think it gets to your point, Emily, of leaving something in the bank. So the only thing that matters to them is their lovey. And so I said they can’t sleep with their lovey tonight. And that to me shows that as a parent in a really understandable way, we’ve all been there.


You’re just in a very angry place and you just want to see your kids suffer. And I think that’s a dark side of parenting that it’s okay to say out loud sometimes. You’re just really, really, really mad and your own stuff has been triggered. And it’s not about changing the behavior. It’s about I’m going to teach a lesson and it has to matter to them and they have to hurt. And parents sometimes go to a place of like, I’m going to take away this one thing that I know is really comforting to them or whatever. And if you find yourself inclined in that direction, again, it’s human, it’s okay. I don’t want parents to feel shame around it. And also it’s not appropriate. It’s not the way consequences are helpful or that we recommend using ’em. And even if you’re coming at it from a more mindful way, I’ve thought about it, the only thing that really matters to my kid is this stuffed bear they’ve had since they were a month old. And so if they do this again to their little sister, I’m just going to take that away for, it’s like, no, that’s your kid’s thing. That’s their safety object. That’s their attachment. Let’s put that off the table for consequences.

Dr. Sarah (21:49):

It also helps likely them to regulate. And I think it’s important to remember what is our biggest goal here. And yes, to your point, Rebecca, in the heat of the moment when you were at a breaking point, your unconscious goal may actually be to inflict some pain to be like, I need you to feel exactly the weight of what this is doing to us. And again, I think it’s really human, but I think in terms of when you’re not in that hot moment and you’re really reflecting on what is my larger goal here as a parent period. But in this sort of as we’re talking about behaviors, usually I want to reduce the behavior. I want my child to learn a skill. I want my child to gain more awareness and more self-control and more ability to regulate. That’s usually the goal. And so if we want to think about it in terms of just strictly what is going to lead to that outcome, to your point, Rebecca sort of inflicting some level of pain or aloneness or a lack of access to a security object, it’s probably going to make it harder for them to regulate, learn a new skill, practice something, and so build insight, whatever.


So that’s why I think kind of going back to what we’ve been saying all along is the more we can create a plan in our comm space that is in alignment with that larger goal of teaching a skill and helping a child connect the dots when I do this, this happens, helping them to eventually be able to think about that before they act, right? These are inhibition of impulse skills. These are reflective functioning skills. These are mindful awareness skills.


It takes a little bit of time and repetition to build these skills. We want to be realistic, but we also want to be efficient. And just I’ll add to your list, Rebecca, of not just attachment objects in terms of a loved stuffed animal or thing that makes them feel sort of comforted, but an attachment person as well. A lot of times we might use separating from us as the consequence, and sometimes I do think there’s actually a place for that. If our kid is hitting us, we might have to physically separate ourself from them, and that’s the consequence. But taking away or withholding our affection or our soothing, that I think also does the same undermining of our bigger goal that you were speaking about, Rebecca.

Dr. Emily (24:34):

And I think that’s when parents come to us, right? They’re like, but I don’t want to take away reading at night. I’m there. And I’m like, I’m not going to read to you, which is not those routines that are close and connected and part of what helps kids have rhythm and learn in their lives. And I say a lot to patients in my practice, sometimes you have to create things to be able to, I have families that are like, we don’t do screen time, we don’t have dessert, we don’t, our lives are pretty contained. There’s not a lot I can take away. These are the parents that are coming to me saying, I don’t want to take away reading, but I feel like I threaten that because that’s the only thing I have or I don’t want to take away lovey or whatever it is that doesn’t feel good.


And I think often doesn’t feel good or doesn’t feel effective. And sometimes you do have to create a little bit of that, right? Sometimes you do have to introduce a new concept. I’m not saying give your kid an iPad, but sometimes you have to really think creatively about how you can find the thing that’s an incentive in order to titrate it down. The other thing I wanted to say is I know we’ve been talking about younger kids. I really think it’s really important also to talk about older kids. I think parents in reactive moments, it’s a little bit different. I think for older kids, I think it is okay if you’re in this heat of the moment being like, and cca, you made me think of this when you said the repair, right? I threatened to take away your iPad, but that wasn’t the right moment.


I was really upset and angry, and I do think there’s a place for parents to say, I’m getting really process comments. I’m getting really frustrated, not listening, and I’m having this urge to take away your iPad, but that’s not effective. What should we do right now if they’re not at a 10? If they’re not at a blind, they can’t see it totally dysregulated place. Let’s say they’re at a five, right? They’re getting irritated, they’re angry, they’re maybe deep being defiant or not doing what you asked if you can sort of self-regulate by modeling your self-regulation, right? I’m trying to figure out a plan that feels fair and feels right. Here I am with, let’s break this down, what feels right? And I think that that’s another way for older children if you’re stuck and instead of just saying, throw the baby out with the bathwater, you’re losing this or you’re not going to this. Or if you’re able to slow down and say, all right, let’s come up. I’ve had kids come up with amazing solutions in these scenarios really offer amazing. Well, I think it’s fair if you take away 10 minutes of my iPad, but not for the whole rest of the night, and then it doesn’t have to be a negotiation. But I do think that you’d be surprised that with some kids that helps organize them, regulate them, and also be internally motivated to participate in this plan of a consequence.

Dr. Sarah (27:25):

I mean, what you’re describing makes me think of Ross Greene’s collaborative problem solving. Who wants to explain that one? Because I feel like that’s really in the context of consequence. I think collaborative problem solving is actually a really useful thing to know about.

Dr. Emily (27:42):

I mean, I’m happy to talk about it a little. I mean, I think that the tenets of Ross Greene’s approach is really you have to have a consequence that’s mutually agreed upon, right? And that’s a really important aspect that seems very simple. It works for both parties, but it’s actually harder than it sounds, right? You have to be able to agree that 10 minutes of the iPad that your kid proposed is an appropriate consequence for whatever happened. The other thing that Ross Green talks a lot about is so you try that, you come up with a collaborative problem solving plan. If I do X, then this is the consequence. But you might have to revisit that and sort of tweak it and renegot not like it always happens the first time around really cleanly. So I think that’s the other piece, but the tenant really is that it’s motivational interviewing. The child is very invested in the solution as well because they feel like they’re a participant in the plan, and the parent isn’t overreaching, they’re not throwing out, we’re taking away the iPad forever and ever because they’re in there with the plan with their kid. Go ahead, Rebecca, sorry.

Dr. Rebecca (28:52):

Right, so hold on because we’re getting a little jargony, I think for our audience. So motivational interviewing is another form of therapy that’s often used for addictions and stuff that Emily just referenced that we’re not going to go into here, but that’s what that is. Ross Greene is a famous psychologist who wrote The Explosive Child and has written many books for parents and also teachers. I think about this idea of collaborative problem solving. And I think the one thing I would add, Emily, is just that the focus is not only on the consequence for the thing, but also just the skill building of collaborative problem solving. And so you’re, I hate the expression killing two birds with one stone, but that’s what came to me.

Dr. Sarah (29:32):

Ohh, I have a new expression for that. Feeding two birds with one seed. I just heard that and I love it.

Dr. Rebecca (29:39):

Oh, okay. So feeding two birds with one seed, you are coming up with a solution for this particular problem at hand about whatever transgression we’re talking about, whatever, but also building respect and trust and the skill of collaboration with a child. I had just wanted to add, and it’s sort of stepping away a little bit from the collaboration, which I think is always valuable and important, but just to say that I don’t think a conversation about consequences is complete without a reference to incentives and rewards, which is the other way to take a lot of this stuff is not just sort of, we’ll leave the playground, let’s say if X, Y or Z happens, but what can we earn for demonstrating the behavior that we’re working on at the playground, whether it’s stickers and I think reward charts, and maybe we can do a whole episode on this.


I think speaking of baby being thrown out with the bath water, they’ve been given a really bad rep, and I have a couple of parents I work with who are like, oh, you give me permission to make a sticker chart. They’re a tool in a toolbox that’s in the context of a warm and secure loving attachment all the rest. But it can be really effective, especially as you were talking about older kids, Emily, it’s like this older kid wants autonomy. This older kid wants control, this older kid wants more freedom. Those are all things they can earn if they’re engaging in the positive behaviors that we want. And so that’s another way that collaboration can look, not just what’s a fair consequence, but what are some things we can earn that you want that I know you want to be able to stay home by yourself, let’s say on a Friday night. Like, great, what’s the trust we need to build for that to happen? Well, I need to know you’re doing your homework each day without having to check it. That feels commensurate, that sort of thing.

Dr. Sarah (31:33):

I love that. And to Emily’s point about putting something in the bank for people who are like, and I think this is true, you’re using a good description, Rebecca, for an older kid, but I think this is also really true for younger kids. Little kids are surprisingly good at coming up with creative solutions to problems, including things that they might want to earn or positive things they might want to work towards as an incentive. And then to tie that in with what you were saying, Emily, with those families that are like, I don’t really have anything to take away. I don’t have any leverage. Well, if you have introduced a possibility of earning something that can be the thing that doesn’t get earned, you can use a reward as both a punishment as a consequence without having to take away other stuff that you don’t want to take away.


That’s not really relevant to this skill that we’re trying to work on. So I do think this is kind of a nice little sweet package of if you can help a child identify a problem that isn’t feeling good to them, they don’t want to be doing X behavior, either you’re aligning with them and it’s you and me versus the problem versus me versus you. So you’re taking away a lot of that power dynamic and power struggle issue. You’re identifying a problem that they’re motivated to change or at least something else that they’re motivated to work towards. And then if they aren’t able to do that, then they aren’t going to get that reward, and that is the consequence. So I think there’s a way to kind of create a little easy strategy there if people are interested in learning. A couple other thoughts that I have on consequences and effective discipline.


I have a free guide, like a PDF workbook on effective discipline. It started as like a, oh my gosh, I feel like people don’t understand time outs and they’re using them in lots of different ways. And so I wrote, it’s actually, if you go to drsarah.com/timeout, you can download this free resource, but it talks about what’s a time out, how do we really use it, what else can we do instead? And has a lot of strategies for disciplining, I would say kids between two to seven. It would be probably useful for, if I’ve got older kids, I think you can definitely think about more of a conversational approach with them. But I hope this was helpful. I know that we threw a lot of information at you guys, so if you have follow-up questions to anything we covered in this episode, definitely let us know and we would be happy to keep iterating on this topic because it’s so complicated and it’s so detailed and nuanced. And so if you have more questions about discipline, let us know. Send ’em in. You can DM me on Instagram, or you can go to our website, drsarahbren.com and let us know your questions. And thank you so much, Emily, Rebecca, for being here.

Dr. Rebecca (34:33):

Thanks. It’s a pleasure as always. Thank you.

Dr. Sarah (34:37):Thank you so much for listening. As you can hear, parenting is not one size fits all. It’s nuanced and it’s complicated. So I really hope that this series where we’re answering your questions really helps you to cut through some of the noise and find out what works best for you and your unique child. If you have a burning parenting question, something you’re struggling to navigate or a topic you really want us to shed light on or share research about, we want to know, go to drsarahbren.com/question to send in anything that you want, Rebecca, Emily, and me to answer in this new series Securely Attached: Beyond the Sessions. That’s drsarahbren.com/question. And check back for a brand new securely attached next Tuesday. And until then, don’t be a stranger.

✨We want to hear from you! Go to https://drsarahbren.com/question to send us a question or a topic you want to hear us answer on Securely Attached – Beyond the Sessions! ✨

155. BTS: How can we implement consequences that teach, not just punish, our kids?