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Teaching Kids About Natural Consequences

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There is no better place for your child to learn values, standards, and social skills than in the home. There is no better teaching method than letting natural consequences take place. If you as an adult don't pay the phone bill, they cut off your service. If your child doesn't turn in his report, he receives a low grade.

If there are no natural consequences, parents sometimes have to establish a logical one. Make sure that your children have a clear understanding of their actions and the consequences. We want them to comprehend that for every action there is a reaction, either pleasant or unpleasant.

There should be no question that when your child ruins her sister's sweater, she pay for a new one, and if the laundry is not done by the agreed-upon time, he may not go with his friends until it's done. If your child is responsible for feeding the dog, then the dog should be fed before the child sits down to breakfast.

A consequences must fit the misbehavior in order for it to be a teaching tool. Discipline (teaching to self-govern) is most effective when it assists the child in assuming personal responsibility and to learn accountability for actions.

It is frequently more effective to ask children what they think is a fair consequence rather than arbitrarily handing out a life sentence. It gives them a chance to examine the problem and come up with other solutions. It also helps them to assume personal responsibility for their choices and actions.

You will be amazed at the wise answers your children will give you when you ask them, "What do you think is fair?" or even, "This is a real problem. What should we do about it?" "Can you come up with a good solution for correcting the problem?'

The easier road is to yell at them, ground them, or punish them, but that road doesn't teach them much or allow them to solve their own problems. It only makes the parent resentful and the child angry.

The higher road takes a few more minutes, a calm voice, and a reasonable manner, but it leaves the child with his/her pride intact and tools to recognize how actions impact other people and things.

You are a teacher, so teach a life lesson

The goal of discipline is to lead and teach. Punishment is short term and only solves the immediate problem, and will make children fearful of you. Discipline will create an atmosphere of mutual respect and help the child to own the problem and to develop the life skills necessary to be a contributing adult.

Check our our Postem on Natural Consequences.