As a parent, learning how to discipline a child who doesn’t care about consequences is a brain-twister. On the one hand, your kid’s disrespectful behaviors drive you crazy, which is worth some punishments. On the other hand, you worry that your actions can exert detrimental impacts on the child, regarding both mental and physical health. 

The only solution you have in mind is to send them for a time out, maybe have them grounded in a few days. Probably, that’s not enough to ensure they won’t conduct the same poor behavior and mistake next time.  

mom disciplining her son

That said, what are you going to do if your child shows no emotion when disciplined? Does the child really not take it seriously or he/she is just trying to prove something? This post is about to give advice and instructions as clear as day for you to solve the problem.  

Read Your Child’s Mind: Why Punishment Doesn’t Work?

When your kids misbehave, you tend to ground them or take away some of their privileges. You want them to acknowledge that there is a correlation between the lack of discipline and consequences.

In other words, parents expect that it will encourage better behaviors, or else there will be more punishments in the future. 

Then comes a situation that causes a sense of astonishment and confusion: Your child says or expresses that they don’t care.

First of all, this is children’s common reaction when they are grounded by adults. Their self-esteem is too high, they feel like their pride is hurt. Hence, they don’t want to show that they are upset about the consequences. Sometimes, the scenario in which your child laughs when disciplined can even happen. 

parent trying to reason with her daughter

Don’t be easily frustrated and fill yourself with anger. At that moment, increasing the level of punishments like putting all their phones and comic books away is not a good decision. Neither will it give you more control nor help you become an ideal parent.

What all parents need to do is be patient, observe the child’s emotions and comments. If their behaviors are improved, this means that your method of handing out a consequence is working.  

The question now is: How to find those methods, or how to discipline a teenager who doesn’t care about consequences in the right manner?

Discipline A Child Who Doesn’t Care About Consequences: 4 Things To Ask Yourself First

A Punishment Or A Consequence?

Although parents may feel that there are no differences between them, some experts think the other way. 

From their viewpoints, setting up a punishment means that you dwell on the past behavior and make your children compensate for it. Also, using punishments is less effective in the long run, leading to the “I don’t care” reaction of your child.

sad kid being punished by his dad
Punishments are not considered an ideal way to handle children who do not care about consequences.

Meanwhile, to help children learn from their mistakes and develop appropriate attitudes, parents should use consequences. Therefore, they will comprehend why that behavior is unacceptable and how negatively it affects others.

Your Child Doesn’t Care, Or Just Too Angry To Act Right?

Sometimes, when things get heated, your child may not be ready to understand and accept the consequence. Give him/her some time and personal space. Make your move only when everyone has calmed down and settled on a family discussion.

How Tough Is Your Approach?

Not wanting it to be tough, you decide to lay down some flexible rules for your children as a consequence. However, If the consequence is not persuasive and forceful enough, chances are your kids will no longer care about it.   

To avoid this, you need to make your kids see the differences between following and not following the rules. In case the child chooses the latter one, your consequence should be well related to it.

a talk between mom and son about his wrong attitude
Learning how to reason with children is not always easy.

For example, you may require your child to clean up their bedsheet once in a while. When he or she expresses any signs of indiscipline, let them know that there are serious consequences and downsides. Search for science-backed articles and pictures on the Internet about severe skin diseases caused by sleeping on a dirty bed sheet.

Having external looks messed up and going to the hospital are not so pleasant an experience for everyone. Thus, it is sure to make your kids understand the natural consequences and think twice before showing neglect.

That said, parents should never go on a rage mode or make things too harsh of a consequence. Prohibiting your kids from watching TV or using the phone for a month just because they forgot to do the laundry is a bit too much, isn’t it?

Does The Consequence Help?

As mentioned before, the consequence that your child is about to take should serve a constructive purpose. Yet, ask yourself this question first: Can that purpose become a practical lesson and help maintain positive discipline?

daughter come to an agreement on how to take consequences

Let’s take this scenario as a typical example: Your son usually talks rudely to other kids, as if it was his favorite stuff to do when having leisure time. 

In that case, give him a warning that you’ll never let him hang out with his close friends anymore. Explain that behaving in such a manner will hurt friends’ feelings and cause parents to be embarrassed. Then, you have managed to convey the message: “If you continue doing this, no one will make friends with you.”

How To Motivate A Child Who Doesn’t Care: Recommended Advice Every Parent Can Relate

1. Get Their Attention

What to do first when you discipline a child who doesn’t care about consequences? Make them care about it!

Sounds like a cliché, right? However, before talking to the child, parents need to have their attention first. Don’t just give orders across the house. Instead, try to connect with their feelings and spark a gentle conversation. 

kid crying for not being satisfied by her mother

Once you manage to capture their attention and feel a welcoming atmosphere, start talking in a sympathetic tone of voice. This will make it easier for the child to be open for discussion.

2. Make The Right Decision

When you don’t know what to do when punishment doesn’t work, make the child aware of the consequences. This is an easy method to adapt for parents who have tried to punish their child many times but it doesn’t seem effective. 

If you can’t stand the heat, keep out of the kitchen. Rather than jumping into a heated argument with your children, walk away from the conversation. After that, make a list of consequences for their misbehaviors.

father and son go for a walk and talk about consequences

Why wait till things get cooled down while you can inform them of a consequence right away? People tend to aggravate the situation when they are angry. Therefore, we don’t want you to think of consequences that are too harsh for your child. 

3. Think About the Time Frame

This is one of the most important factors when learning how to discipline a child who doesn’t care about consequences. Keep in mind how long the consequence should last and how well it suits your children. 

If your son or daughter is a teenager, a 30-minute timeout will not make any difference. They will even thank you for that consideration and kindness.

son and dad talking about discipline in the family
Talking a bout consequences to a teenager in totally different from a preteen child.

What about a 3-month ban? It is sure to carry a lot more influence, but we don’t recommend that you use it. Consequences that last too long will make your children less motivated to improve their behaviors and attitudes.

In short, children don’t care about earning back their privileges if the consequences are too harsh. Meanwhile, consequences that are too light won’t be enough to teach them a lesson.

4. Focus on Their Recreational Interests

Recreational interest is a subject worth talking about when parents discipline a child who doesn’t care about consequences. By learning what means the most to them, you can force your child to act correctly 

This may sound like a method of manipulation but don’t worry. As long as you don’t push things over the edge, parents can understand how to motivate a child who doesn’t care and avoid negative consequences at the same time.

For instance, if your child is a teenager, forbidding them from going outside may not be an adequate consequence. Instead, setting up a time limit for phone and laptop usage should exert a greater impact for sure. 

5. Ask Your Children To Choose A Consequence Themselves

A little bit off the beaten path, but this has been proved to work out most of the time. 

Letting your child come up with their own consequence will make them feel more responsible for their actions. Because they create the consequence, they should know exactly what will happen in worst-case scenarios. Hence, your child will have no reasons to get angry with you.

The only thing you have to do is evaluate their decision, whether the consequence is too simple or not. 

son come up with his own consequences

What do you think about “no Internet-surfing session for 1 hour” when your child doesn’t complete his task? If it’s too light, make it 2 hours! If it’s too challenging, offer an alternative. This suggests that you always concern yourself with fairness and tolerance and you love them unconditionally even when it comes to consequences.

After all, we want our kids to learn how to behave, not how to withstand the most severe punishments. Don’t feel deterred by hearing them tell that they don’t care at all. Based on the above guide and advice, we hope that you can find the proper method of setting up a consequence to help correct your child’s behaviors. 

Apart from your kids, have you ever thought about your parents and how to make them happy in the most unique ways? If not, check out these 8 Best Gifts For Parents Who Have Everything.

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