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December 1, 2012

Crime & Punishment

“Don’t do the crime, if you can’t do the time.” 


What it is

Penalties for rule breaking that naturally link.

Why it's Important

Arbitrary punishments don’t teach kids how to choose wisely.  The best decisions get you closest to your desire while costing the least.  When actions link to consequences good decisions are easier to make because you know what each action costs.


Options link to Consequences which link to Options

The Problem

Most “crimes” committed by our kids break more than just objective rules, they break our trust.  Being abstract, it’s hard to put a “cost” on broken trust, yet it’s the subjective and intangible foundation that options rely upon. 

Without a shared agreement about the role trust plays punishments don’t always seem to fit the crime.

"Mom, can I go to the movies with Jill and her parents?" 

Your tween asks to go to the movies with a friend’s family but lies about parental supervision—as in there won’t be any.

She’ll understand not being allowed to go that night because the consequences obviously link to the “crime.” 

That part is fairly simple. 

But will she see the link next weekend if you don’t trust her enough to allow her to go to a party?  Without the foundation of trust, her options are limited and that’s how her “trust-crime” comes back to bite.

The Tip

Saving-up for the movies

There aren’t any “steps” to this tip, just a general idea to talk about the way options are created.  Possibilities and options are earned well in advance of an opportunity.

Want to go to the movie? 

He’ll need more than money, he’ll need:


Created by staying current with homework and chores.

A Ride


Created by helping the drivers in his life when they ask.

To be Trusted

Created each time he keeps his word or accepts responsibility for his actions.

By helping him understand how to create his options, you’re helping him connect his actions – past and present – to his options – present and future.



You’re no longer the “bad guy” out to rob your child of her friends.  Though she won’t thank you for saying no, at least she won’t blame you for it – too much.


As he becomes more conscious of his actions, he will make it possible for you to say YES to more things. 


As your child recognizes the cost/benefit for her daily actions, life around the house becomes wonderful.


You’re leading without coercion.  All great leaders do it this way.

Promise Kept

We promised to teach our kids how to choose wisely.  By teaching him the link between actions and opportunities, you’re making good on that promise.


Peacemaker Coach Tip of the Week - Crime & Punishment


Related Articles:  Caution:  Tripping Hazard, Bribing Kids,

Related Tip of the Week: Portion Control, Time is Money


Chime in >> What do you think?

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