Articles Comments

ParentingPanicButton » parenting advice, parenting teens, parenting tips » Collateral, Currency and Consequences Part 2

Collateral, Currency and Consequences Part 2

Definitions and Solutions


Something that is in place that can be withheld or taken away if agreements are not kept.  (Have relatives give you the money to be trustee of when they give money to your child, you can give it out as deserved or use it to fix broken windows, negligently or maliciously damaged property, late fines at libraries and video stores, etc.…)  Collateral accounts can be in the bank collecting interest for college or put aside for that special camp or trip your child wants to go to.


That material or non-material thing that motivates your child towards good citizenship and behavior.    These can be money, treats, trips, excursions and material rewards.  For others it can be praise, redemption, forgiveness, playing table games, outings, “parent-child” days, time on computer, cell phone use, or Facebook account access.


A consequence is a natural or imposed outcome of a particular behavior. It is most instructive and behavior changing when it comes naturally, as in flipping some off and having them chase you home and beating you up.  An instructive imposed consequence is one enacted by someone in a power position, such as a parent, employer, policeman, or judge.


Clout is the power and authority you have in the moment due to prior interactions you have had with your child in which they have felt treated or taken care of.  All of the things that you have a history of doing for your child which they really appreciate and value create that clout.  As an example, when your child asks you to “bring them a glass of water” and you just do it, it gives you clout for the next time you ask them for a favor.  Special acts of generosity and giving you extend to your child helps develop your clout.  It works because when you need them to compromise, back off or come around, they often remember what they have to gain by being cooperative.

Here are some sample responses.  Feel free to customize and be creative!  Be clear and concise and non-negotiating when explain this to your child as developmentally indicated for age.

  • Bedtime- Difficult or disruptive bedtime incident means an earlier bedtime the next day.
  • Morning- Difficulty getting up in the morning and making others pay for it means an earlier bedtime and an earlier rising.
  • Forgetting homework or lunch- Best consequence is going without lunch and the natural consequences of not turning in homework…Additional consequence can be charging the child a fee (from collateral account) or a chore to be done.
  • Chores- Forgotten, neglected, delayed, procrastinated or done in a nasty way will earn the child extra chores, possibly harder or more unpleasant one.  Plus, you would NEVER pay the child for doing a chore in this manner.  Be specific so they understand your rules.
  • Lying- Results in loss of trust.  Trust can only be given, therefore, it can only be restored the next time they have the change to lie and then don’t.”  “I give you about 90% credit for your apologizing, and the other 10% will be given when the next time this happens, and you take the high “Trust” road.  It is about honor, and self-control/choice on the child’s part, to have made an active choice to be honorable and trustworthy.
  • Swearing- Charge by the word, or ask the child to go in the bathroom, turn on the fan and get it out, or “flush” it down the toilet.  Make it clear that this type of language is not used in your household, and be sure to model good language use yourself.
  • Homework- It is their job, don’t do it for them, although a little help is acceptable…Don’t nag, remind or argue…  Leave it up to the teacher to enforce school consequences.  It is also fine to have “house” consequences that do not belittle. 
  • Self-endangerment, harm or eating disorders, self-harm, suicide, depression, —Seek professional help immediately.  These are not going to get better long term by “walking on egg-shells” or “having a good day.”  Avoid denial.  Dealing with the reality is better in the long term with support than the possibility of losing your child to death.
  • Practicing instruments-If you are paying for lessons, have the child reimburse (collateral account) for 1/7 of the cost of the lesson or each day not practiced.  Music lessons are a gift.
  • Any level of tantrums, rants or physical violence- Child is to be constricted in room with a closed door, alone, kept safe.  If child comes out still ranting, use collateral, currency, etc.
  • Substance issues- Great for proactive education, take child to AA meetings, drug rehab centers, drug counselors….  Let child know in advance what they will risk (make it big) and what will happen if they break a substance agreement.  Let them know that you will likely find out, sooner or later and will be vigilant, clear and steadfast in your response.  Let them know that you have the power ultimately to send them away to a treatment center, and so do the courts.  Have all medications, substances, including alcohol under lock and key.  It is best if you can also not use them in front of your kids… better yet to get them out of your house and life.
  • Shoplifting- Encourage the storeowner and or police to be clear and consequential and not cut any slack.  Otherwise, they won’t have a first offense, and their second offense, which could be a lot worse, becomes only their “first offence”.
  • Questionable choices of friends- If you don’t trust their friends or choice of friends, 24/7 supervision is the only remedy short of vetoing their friends.
  • Arguing and negotiating—You can only lose with this one.  Replace arguing with conversation.  Replace negotiating with giving several choices.
  • Coming in late and not calling- Institute earlier curfew, take away car, communicate curfew to parent of friends.
  • Sexuality- Inform child or have child informed by a responsible presenter on topics of sex education, STDs, pregnancy, adoption.  Also let them know that if they choose to have sex, the consequences are ones that the parents cannot fix or prevent.
  • Steady partners, dating- Discourage this before 16 (or your own call on the age).  Remind children that those that they date will likely become “ex’s”, which can be uncomfortable, and people may make judgments about you that are hurtful and painful, even if not true.  Encourage supervised outings for pre-teen of groups of kids going to a “held” environment, slowly giving more freedom as child matures.
  • Dropping commitments- Child pays for missed or dropped lessons, and in the future has to pay their him/herself or at least part.
  • Problems at school, cutting classes– Meet with teacher and administrators at school with child.  Be an advocate, not an ambassador or accomplice.  Sometimes the best remedy is to encourage the teacher to give the grade deserved, even if an “F” and have the child make it up during summer in order to pass to the next grade.
  • Computer gaming addiction, out of control media habits- You have total control of this if you pay for the internet connection, the phone service, the cell phone, the texting or the games; everything that an adult has to consent to.  This may take radical, edgy, outside the box strategies like blocking the wireless with a powerful password, not having internet in the house, not providing a computer for the child, having the only computer in the living room or a very public place, charging the child for time on computer, etc.  You can get a cell phone, which you can block, all ingoing and outgoing numbers other than yours, family and care-providers.  If the child refuses to answer when you call, or call when it is necessary for you to know their whereabouts, suspend the account.  People have survived without cell phones or millenniums.  (If you have to resort to this tactic, you can confiscate the patch cords, keyboards, mouse when not home.) Just be careful because the child’s wrath may lead to an escalation by damaging or messing with your computer, in which case you will have to use the collateral account.

While all of this may seem rather authoritative, controlling, and pejorative (It is!), the reality is that if the outcome or possibility for accountability is in place then it may only need to be used rarely.

Avoid the following:

  • Backing off on Consequences,
  • Degrading, Blaming, or Nagging,
  • Yelling or Ranting,
  • Threatening,
  • Melting to tears,
  • Fighting Battles that are best set to rest
  • Comparing your child to another,
  • Saying anything mean, hurtful or abusive out of uncontrolled anger or with the intent or hurting,
  • Getting physical when angry or in an altercation…  This is a great time to keep your hands to yourself, even behind your back.

Instead try these “Stay Cool”, effective parenting tips:

  • Keep the emotional distance to not take it personally, err on the side of calm compassion rather than judgment.
  • Make sure that everyone is safe and create some space for all parties
  • Allow the child time to recover alone
  • Experience appropriate forgiveness – Let the child to know you will “always love them”, AND you don’t trust them right now. 
  • Allow the child to save face or abort a tantrum with support, encouragement and space.
  • Have a good memory.  Remember big offenses.   Let this be your guide when choosing not to do special treats for a while.


C 2012 Rick Concoff  

Written by

Filed under: parenting advice, parenting teens, parenting tips · Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply