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Disciplining Your Child - Natural and Logical Consequences

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Discipline means teaching. It is not the same as punishment and shouldn't be confused with it. The usual way of disciplining children has been to reward children's obedience and punish disobedience. This form of discipline, however, can create potential problems. A more beneficial way of disciplining a child is with natural and logical consequences. This will raise resilient children rather than compliant children.

Reward and Punishment

Many of us were raised by parents using this disciplinary system. This method, however, has certain disadvantages:

*Parents become responsible for their child's behavior.

*Prevents children learning to make their own decisions --consequently from adopting rules for effective behavior.

*It suggests that acceptable behavior is only expected in the presence of authority figures.

*Invites resistance by attempting to force children to conform.

Natural and Logical Consequences

Consequences are positive or negative outcomes resulting from a person's actions. For every action, there is a reaction. This method has certain advantages over punishment. It is a method of discipline that develops responsibility in a child.

Natural consequences occur without any interference by the parent. For example, if a child refuses to wear shoes, the natural consequence may be that the child cuts his foot on glass. The parent didn't do anything to make the child hurt his foot. The child's foot was hurt because of his decision to ignore the parent's advice and wear shoes. Natural consequences can become frustrating for parents - positive results can take longer than alternate methods. It's important for parents to remember the process of learning from mistakes is worth the wait.

Logical consequences are imposed by parents when the child behaves in a certain way. They are logically related to the behavior. For example, if a child refuses to wear a bike helmet, bike riding privileges may be removed for some time. A natural consequence such as allowing the child to ride her bike without a helmet would be inappropriate and neglectful in this situation.

Deciding between Natural and Logical Consequences

The goal of natural and logical consequences is that children learn from their own mistakes. So, how does a parent know whether to set a logical consequence or allow the natural consequence to teach the lesson? This decision depends upon each individual situation.

Natural consequences can be very effective when they are immediate. However, the child's best interests and safety need to be taken into consideration. For example, If a child is failing in school and refuses to put in effort, a natural consequence of not getting into college would not be in the child's best interests. The child doesn't have the perception to see far ahead. A logical consequence would be more beneficial.

But, if a teenager refuses to wear a seatbelt when driving, a natural consequence would be neglectful. A more appropriate logical consequence of not allowing the child to drive the car would be more suitable.