Your child knows that when they are being disrespectful or making poor choices that they can expect a correction of that behavior. If poor choices are not corrected immediately either because you are busy, tired, or have simply given up and need help with the problem, your children are both excited with their newfound power and control, and disillusioned by the lack of structure that is being provided.
Children not only expect consequences, but need them.
They also need positive reinforcement.
Their successes cannot be measured by your barometer.
If they master their homework assignments, or brushing their teeth without an argument, these are their successes. They should be noted with approval.
Children are natural born pleasers, but they will not continue their attempts to make you proud if they are not recognized.
Children should not be disciplined for extended lengths of time. If they are grounded for one night, they learn a lesson. if they are grounded for one month, they are likely to become defiant and oppositional, making conscious efforts to break rules in their anger.
Children begin their lives free-spirited and pure.
Consequences that are fair, and given out of love and not anger, will not dampen their spirit.