Natural and logical consequence against punishment as parenting discipline tool

Published on 16 September 2023 at 21:39

Natural and logical consequences are two methods of discipline used in gentle parenting.

Natural consequences are the result of a child's actions without parental influence, while logical consequences are predetermined by parents and explained to the child.

Punishment, on the other hand, is a form of discipline that involves imposing unpleasant outcomes on children for their actions, and causes form of suffering for misbehavior.

Here are some reasons why punishment is harmful to child development:

- **Punishment doesn't teach children how to make better choices**: When children are punished, they may learn to avoid the behavior that led to the punishment, but they don't necessarily learn why the behavior was wrong or what they should do instead. Natural consequences, on the other hand, allow children to experience the real-life outcomes of their actions and learn from them.

- **Punishment can damage the parent-child relationship**: When parents use punishment, children may feel resentful, angry, or afraid of their parents. This can damage the parent-child relationship and make it harder for parents to connect with their children in the future.

- **Punishment can lead to more misbehavior**: When children are punished, they may become more defiant or aggressive, especially if the punishment is harsh or inconsistent. This can lead to a cycle of misbehavior and punishment that is difficult to break.

- **Punishment doesn't address the root cause of misbehavior**: Misbehavior is often a sign that children are struggling with something, such as boredom, anxiety, or a lack of social skills. Punishment doesn't address these underlying issues and may even make them worse

Gentle parenting emphasizes the use of natural and logical consequences instead of punishment to discipline children. This approach helps children learn from their mistakes, make better decisions, and promotes positive communication and empathy between parents and children.

How do you use Logical Consequences?

  1. Take a moment. Consequences are more likely to be respectful when you have a moment to take a step back rather than yelling or punishing.
  2. Consequences should be applied right after the misbehavior to help children see them as their own choice when they misbehave. When consequences are connected with inappropriate behavior, the more effective they will be in encouraging positive behavior.
  3. Enforce consequences privately when possible. Children may feel shame or humiliation when there are other people around.
  4. Use the 3 R’s (Consequences should be: Related to the behavior. Respectful towards the child and not involve shame or blame. Reasonable in both the child’s and parent’s perspective)
  5. Ask. If you struggle to come up with a consequence, ask your child what he/she feels would be an appropriate consequence. Often, kids are great at coming up with fair consequences.
  6. Stick to the consequence. Once you set it, enforce it.
  7. Be patient. These consequences may not work right away, but it is important to stick to them.
  8. “Catch the child behaving well.” On topic of consequences, provide positive feedback and encouragement. (“You did such a great job picking up your toys”) When you provide well-timed positive feedback, they will feel loved and appreciated.
  9. Check in. There are times when logical consequences are not appropriate. If it is hard to come up with a logical consequence in a situation, it may not be the best method. It is important to find a method of consequences and parenting that fits for you. Depending on the child’s developmental age, you can choose to hold a family meeting, offer limited choices (“Would you like water or orange juice?” “We can either stay for 5 more minutes or leave now, your choice”), use safe spaces to calm down, set limits and stick to them, etc.

Here are some reasons why natural and logical consequences are better than punishment:

-They teach children to associate their actions with real-life outcomes
-They help children learn from their mistakes and make better decisions in the future
-They are respectful towards the child and do not involve shame or blame
-They are reasonable in both the child’s and parent’s perspective
-They promote positive communication and empathy between parents and children





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