22 Provide appropriate consequences Children make mistakes, and sometimes they make bad choices. Realizing that there are consequences for bad choices and decisions, however, is part of growing up. To help ensure that the consequences you provide are appropriate and effective, consider the guidelines below. u Use logical consequences whenever possible. For example, “You know you’re not allowed to play video games after 9:00. Tomorrow you are not allowed to play any video games at all.” u Never take away a positive activity (sports, school activities, music lessons) as a consequence. u Never use physical punishment as a consequence. u Consequences should be specific and for a definite period of time (e.g., no cell phone for one week). u Don’t feel that you must provide immediate consequences. Take time, if necessary, to think things over. 7. Middle school is a time when children are trying to separate themselves from their parents, so it’s not unusual for middle schoolers to sometimes exhibit signs of rebellion. As a parent, you need to pick your battles. If you see your child needing to rebel, you may want to allow a little “safe rebellion.” 8. Be a good role model. Children learn their behaviors and attitudes from their parents more than from anyone else. 9. Last, but certainly not least, keep your sense of humor. “Even though I prefer a clean bedroom and a son with short hair, I decided early on that I wasn’t going to make an issue over John’s room or his hair. He knows I’m not happy about either, but he also knows these are areas in which he can pretty much do what he wants. Grades, alcohol, drugs, smoking—these are non-negotia- ble issues.” Marianne Hayes, parent