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The Delayed or "Anticipatory" Consequence

By Jim Fay

Immediate consequences work really well with rats, pigeons, mice, and monkeys. In real-world classrooms, they typically create more problems than they solve.

Problems with Immediate Consequences

  • Most of us have great difficulty thinking of an immediate consequence while we are teaching.
  • We "own" the problem rather than handing it back to the child. In other words, we are forced to do more thinking   than the child.
  • We are forced to react while we and the child are upset.
  • We don't have time to anticipate how the child, his/her parents, our administrators, and others will react to our response.
  • We don't have time to put together a reasonable plan and a support team to help us carry it out.
  • We often end up making threats we can't back up.
  • We generally fail to deliver a strong dose of empathy before providing the consequences.
  • Every day we live in fear that some kid will do something that we won't know how to handle with an immediate consequence.

Take care of yourself, and give yourself a break! Here's how:

The next time a student does something inappropriate, experiment with saying, "Oh no. This is so sad. I'm going to have to do something about this! But not now...later. Try not to worry about it."

The Love and Logic® Anticipatory Consequence allows you time to "anticipate" whose support you might need, how the child might try to react, and how to make sure that you can actually follow through with a logical consequence. This Love and Logic technique also allows the child to "anticipate" or worry about a wide array of possible consequences.

The Love and Logic® Anticipatory Consequence technique gains its power from this basic principle of conditioning. When one stimulus consistently predicts a second, the first stimulus gains the same emotional properties as the second. Stated simply: When "try not to worry about it" consistently predicts something the child really must worry about, "try not to worry about it" becomes a consequence in and of "Anticipatory" Consequence.

People who are really successful implementing this skill purchased The Love and Logic Classroom


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©Jim Fay
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For more information, call the Love and Logic Institute, Inc. at 800-338-4065.