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How to Discipline a Child That Doesn’t Care about Consequences or Punishments

When it comes to disciplining a child that just doesn’t seem to care about his consequences, it is frustrating. I get it.

I have often heard parents of kids who are going through a challenging phase say thing’s like, “My kid doesn’t care. He must be upset at me for something I have done.” Some even take things as far as assuming their child has a learning disability. 

Though this might feel true in the moment of difficulty, it is unlikely that your child is intentionally making life hard for you.

It really comes down to listening to your child’s subconscious messages and tuning into those to take care of them in a healthy productive way. 

I have been there myself, with my own children as they grew up. It seemed it was more about listening to them in the way’s unique to them individually.

I’m just here to share with you the best way’s to discipline a child that doesn’t seem to care about punishments or even consequences.

Communicate On Your Kids Level

A lot of us are great parents but might start to question it when we feel like our kids stop caring too. After all, compassion is what we’re trying to instill in them, right? When this happens, our patience for the situation goes out the window, understandably so. 

But, is it really true that they don’t care about their consequences? Or, perhaps we need to switch up the way our message is getting across to them based on their individual way of communicating.

Take a little time to read the signs your kid gives you in how they communicate when things aren’t so intense. Getting to know the way your kid communicates can be the single best move from your point of power.

Timing is Everything

It’s just about dinner time, and you catch your eight-year-old child tearing up a book. In reality, they’re mad that they’re not getting their way about getting on the computer before dinner.

It doesn’t help that you feel exhausted, and just want the evening to be over anyway. Yet, the reality is that waiting until tomorrow to discipline them for the torn book isn’t going to work.

angry mom

Discipline Even When You’re Tired

Even if we have no energy, we can choose to communicate in a more subtle way that it’s not okay to tear a book up in anger. You don’t always have to get stern, but keeping the discipline directly after it happens is going to be more effective in the long run. 

Try sitting down and talking it out with your child when you’re tired or in public. If they throw a fit, say you’re going to come back in five minutes to talk this out and that we aren’t moving forward until we resolve this together.

Keep Them Motivated While Disciplined

Who changes when they aren’t motivated to do so? That’s right, far and few between and when we are talking about a five-year-old child that doesn’t have much focus behind their efforts. It is truly up to us as the parent to be their cheerleader. 

As hard as that might be, remember that they will lose motivation if they don’t get any positive praise for too long of a stretch. There have been times when my son just wasn’t behaving well for days on end.

Eventually, I found it in myself to compliment him on the outfit he chose that day. This sparked a light in his eyes. Reestablishing his confidence, as well as his motivation to do good that day.

Remember when you are trying to grow a flower, you water it, even when it’s growing slowly. Keeping your child with motivating and kind words is very important even if you feel like they’re misbehaving left, right, up, and down. 

The Self-Interest of Positive Development

They cultivate their own positive flow of working through situations at hand when they are given the motivation to do so. You are there to guide them and light their fire when it’s gone out.

Body Language Is Key

I recall a few times in my adult life when I couldn’t see the person who was trying to talk to me.

Maybe they were hollering a question from a different room, but the fact that I couldn’t see them made it downright difficult to feel at ease with keeping the conversation flowing well. This is when I realized how important body language is. 

Kids need to see you to truly hear you, they might feel intimidated if you’re standing above them shouting out demands for them to behave better.

This might be the easiest expression in a moment of frustration. Across the board, it’s better to let them know you will talk about it in five minutes when they have calmed down and you have as well so that you can provide healthy communication through your body language. 

happy mother and daughter

Sit beside them, or on the floor eye-to-eye with them. Don’t throw things or raise your arms above them as this could cause them to get too nervous to even consider what you have to say.

Kid’s Respond Better When They are Respected

Toddlers and kids alike respond best when they feel respected – even young babies can feel your parenting vibes when you speak to them.

If you’re in a state of pure anger and rage, take some time to step back and evaluate how this might come across as disrespectful or respectful to your child. 

No matter what age they are, there is a certain level of humane respect that should be granted to an individual – even when they have done something wrong and don’t seem to care about how anyone else feels!

By communicating and acting as though you still have respect for them as a person, they will reverberate that kindness and respect over time. 

It might not happen right away, but you’ll start to see their attitudes mimicking yours and your spouses eventually. I still recall when my kid told me how “I didn’t care anyways” because that was something that I had said to him in a moment of disrespect month’s prior.

The truth was I always cared, but I was so angered at the time that I simply told him I didn’t care about the situation anymore instead of working through it. He felt that disrespect at that time, and so went on to show me that same level of disrespect.

Introduce Effective Problem Solving

When it’s all said-and-done and it’s all settled down, this is a perfect time to introduce effective problem-solving. You can’t teach a kid everything when everyone’s upset and in trouble. Children need us to talk to them on the days they have had very good behavior too.

This shows that you support your kid through every phase. When your 12-year old has been grounded all weekend, by the time next Wednesday comes around they might be far more receptive to have a constructive conversation with you regarding good behavior.

Aim Towards Supportive Conversations

Make these conversations positive and in terms that they can understand. Be sure to exhibit positive praise about their ability to take the right action.

mother with child

Try saying thing’s like “If you feel frustrated, try sitting down for a minute and take three deep breathes.” Make their go-to to resolve the problem simple and something that they can remember next time thing’s to get tough. 

You can take this time to create a list of positive reactions with them. Help your child generate some of their own good ideas about what they might do next time.

Make It About Solutions Rather Than Consequences

It’s pretty easy to get caught up in arguments about consequences with your kid rather than what stems from continuing the behavior. Your child might say something along the lines of “I don’t care if I get in trouble anyways.”

Instead of you grounding them, it’s better to explain to them that they are only hurting their own selves through the lack of care. That it’ll just keep coming up until they choose to resolve it with a long-term solution rather than reacting at the moment.

This might take a few tries to really engrave in their thought-process but once you do, you’ll be glad you took the time to communicate solutions rather than punishments.

By being blunt with them that they are responsible for their behavior and their own solutions it gives them the full-credit, and the opportunity to step up to the plate when making a choice next time.


When kids don’t seem to care about their consequences or punishments, it really just means that we aren’t communicating with them in the right manner. Whether that be the words, body language, or amount of respect we’re giving to them, they do care deep down. 

Our job as parents is to be uncomfortable from time-to-time, boosting our child’s motivation to do better, even if we’re frustrated with them we can lift them up.

Don’t give up on your child, even if they seem to give up first. Try several different consequences for them at their level of communication. These are some of the best tips we can provide on how to discipline a child who doesn’t care about consequences or punishment.


Kids Who Ignore Consequences: 10 Things Parents Can Do – Empowering Parents

When Your Child Doesn’t Care About Consequences – Very Well Family