Parent Coaching

The Influence of Choices and Consequences on House Rules

Parent Coaching

The Influence of Choices and Consequences on House Rules

As caregivers, our responsibility extends beyond guiding our children; we play a pivotal role in shaping their emotional development. Previous discussions on play and praise have laid the groundwork, while insights into setting rules and fostering better behaviour through the 3Rs contribute to the subsequent layer. These should be reviewed in conjunction with this article.

Connected to consequences are the decisions children make. It is crucial for children to grasp the concept of making choices, understanding that their decisions result in consequences. Instead of merely focusing on consequences, engage in conversations with your children about making positive choices and experiencing the favourable outcomes as a consequence. Utilise these moments as opportunities for their growth and enhancement of self-esteem.

The intricate interplay between choices, consequences, and personal power significantly shapes the development of self-esteem in 7 to 11-year-olds. Let's delve into how these elements intertwine and impact the psychological well-being of our children.

The Triad of Self-Esteem, Choices, and Personal Power

Self-Esteem: The Fundamental Pillar

  • Self-esteem serves as the cornerstone of this triad, influencing how children perceive themselves. High self-esteem empowers positive choices, while low self-esteem may lead to self-doubt. Nurturing a child's emotional resilience hinges on building a foundation of robust self-esteem.

Choices: Empowering Pathways

  • Children's decisions act as bridges connecting self-esteem and personal power. Providing opportunities for decision-making instils a sense of control and responsibility, contributing to the development of their personal power.

Personal Power: Inner Strength

  • Contrary to the misconception of power as dominance, personal power in this context refers to inner strength. It emanates from a foundation of good self-esteem, enabling children to make thoughtful and positive choices.

Constructing Self-Esteem Building Blocks

In comprehending this triad, elements such as play, empathy, boundaries, listening, fairness, and consistency act as the building blocks of self-esteem. Incorporating these into parenting creates an environment conducive to the development of robust self-esteem.

Psychological Dynamics

The psychological underpinnings lie in the child's perception of themselves within the context of their choices. Positive choices reinforce a positive self-image, while negative choices can impact self-worth, shaping the child's emotional landscape.

Addressing Wrong Choices and Rule Violations

After establishing house rules, it's crucial to discuss consequences with your children, outlining boundaries and expectations. Emphasise that consequences are opportunities for learning, not punishments. When addressing inappropriate behaviour, relate it back to the specific rule being broken, creating a connection between choices and consequences.

Considerations for Choices and Consequences

  • Recognize Impact: Understand that choices and consequences play a pivotal role in shaping your child's self-esteem. Positive reinforcement fosters accomplishment, while negative consequences may lead to self-doubt.
  • Clearly Communicate Expectations: Set clear expectations and rules, creating a foundation for making choices within defined parameters.
  • Offer Choices: Present choices to empower your child, fostering a sense of control and responsibility.
  • Define Consequences: Establish reasonable consequences for both positive and negative behaviour.
  • Consistency is Crucial: Maintain consistency in implementing consequences, helping your child understand the link between actions and outcomes.

Guidelines for Giving Choices and Consequences

Clearly specify positive and negative behaviours and their corresponding consequences. Relate consequences to specific behaviours, ensuring they hold significance for your child. Use a calm and clear voice, avoiding threats or ultimatums. Offer choices only when suitable for the situation, and ensure consequences are manageable for you. Allow your child time to reflect before making a decision.

Parental Script

Parent: "It's time to tidy up. Would you prefer to do it before or after dinner?"

Child: "After dinner, please!"

Parent: "Excellent choice! After dinner it is. And once you're done, we can enjoy some extra playtime together. Sound good?"

In contrast, avoid negative commands that may create resistance, opting for positive reinforcement to maintain a child's self-esteem.

The Inner Strength of Positive Personal Power

When discussing positive personal power, we refer to a child's inner strength, not control over others. This strength stems from good self-esteem, enabling children to navigate challenges with resilience.


In the crucial age range of 7 to 11, choices and consequences serve as potent tools for nurturing self-esteem. By providing choices and applying consistent consequences, parents create an environment where children feel empowered and capable. The intertwined dance of self-esteem, choices, and personal power forms the foundation of emotional resilience, fostering confident and resilient individuals. Remember, a child with good self-esteem not only makes positive choices but also possesses the inner strength to confidently navigate life's journey.

​​Want to try out setting consequences with your children? Learn more about applying these strategies and other secrets to a happy and harmonious home in my online course, How To Create An Emotionally Safe Home.

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