Natural/Logical Consequences

Sarah - posted on 07/25/2011 ( 52 moms have responded )

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Lately around COM's I've seen this method being mentioned more and more.
I like the idea, however, I've found after reading up about it a little, that I've been doing it the whole time!

While I've got nothing against this method at all, I do wonder if it's just worded in a way that appeals to parents more these days. Calling them "consequences" instead of "punishments" seems to make parents feel better about what they're doing.
I've always tended to "make the punishment fit the crime" so to speak.

Also, I've noticed that Timeouts are becoming frowned upon. Surely though sometimes taking your child away from a situation is the most logical consequence.

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Amie - posted on 07/25/2011

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I employ logical and natural consequences. How I view that is different than others. I don't view it as punishment, even though others might. That is not semantics, we just view it differently.

It's our views, it's not semantics unless we are saying it is this way and only this way for every person.

I remember having a discussion with another parent in PBS about this very thing a few months ago. We were employing the same techniques, we just looked at it differently. I saw it as no choice - it's either they do this or the natural/logical consequence happens. She looked at it as a choice, they do this or they are choose the natural/logical consequence. Different views, that's all it is.

In the heat of debate though I find (and am also guilty of) not always making ourselves clear. What I say and use for my family is just that, for my family. For example; Mary's post walking with her LO across the street or carrying her. She views it as a logical consequence but also a punishment. That is her view. My response could be something like "That's a logical consequence though - she knows the rules and knows what happens. It applies to the situation and helps her learn." The only thing I didn't include is "In my view" at the beginning. We could then go on and argue about the terminology we used but in the end, we are both saying the same thing. We just view it differently.

People get caught up in semantics because they want too. We don't and shouldn't have to, each and every time, follow it up with in my view, in our family, etc.

It's not all the same for everyone because we are each individuals. We have our opinions and views on certain things, in this case parenting techniques, because of who we are.

I'm not trying to fool myself, with these ideas, that I am absolved of any negativity towards my children. They tell me when they're upset with me, sometimes quite loudly. They've even employed the dreaded "I hate you" or "You're a mean mommy". It's just a part of parenthood.


I'll also add; I've never labelled myself as any "type" of parent until I came to CoM's. I have only begun to do so because it makes it easier for others to see where I'm coming from. I do lean towards AP parenting, I do lean towards hover parenting (something that I do work on though, it annoys me that I worry as much as I do), etc. I do this for other people's benefit, not my own. If people have a general idea where I am coming from, it makes it easier for them to reply to and debate with me.

Mary - posted on 07/25/2011

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Sarah, it's funny you posted this; it's something I've been giving a lot of thought to after some of the more explosive spanking debates on here.

I will readily admit to not having read a ton on this; I'm just not a by-the-book, follow-a-specific-methodology type of parent. A lot of this is because I fundamentally believe that no one mindset is going to fit every child, or even every situation for one specific child. So I sort of bumble along, and do what is probably a mish-mash of different "styles". I'm also the kind of person who gets a little annoyed with the bullshit semantics and rephrasing of things. Call a spade a spade, and be done with it.

It's interesting that when I googled "Natural Consequences" this is what came up first:

"... Yet despite their differences, all the so-called ‘natural consequences’ advocated in these books have a number of features in common: they are to be chosen by the parent; they are to be unpleasant for the child; and they are to be set up in such a way as to delude the child into thinking that the parent is not the active agent in the matter. They are, therefore, a strategy for denying responsibility for pain for which the parent is in fact responsible.

So what can be called a “natural consequence” reasonably?

Something that happens despite the parent's real (non-coercive) attempts to prevent it..."


http://www.takingchildrenseriously.com/n...

Now - a disclaimer - I perused the rest of this site, and found both some valid tactics and ideas, but I also found some of it to be utter feel-good, idealistic crap as well. I'm by no means saying that I support fully this TCS methodology any more than I do the Natural/Logical Consequences camp.

However, I thought this quote was pretty valid in summing up my feelings on the semantics game.

I do employ "consequences" for my toddler when she misbehaves (or, if you prefer, "makes bad choices"). However, I don't get to caught up in labeling it a certain way, especially not in an attempt to assuage my own dislike of disciplining her. In the spanking thread, I used the example of crossing the street. She knows that she has a choice: hold my hand and walk nicely, or mommy will carry you across the street.

I don't, however delude myself into thinking that me carrying her is just a "logical consequence". It is what it is: I am restricting her freedom and independence, as well as royally pissing her off. I don't like it, but I own it. It is my primary job, as her mother, to ensure her safety and well being, while also teaching her to do so herself.

Jenni - posted on 07/25/2011

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"Punishments" are a penality for a negative behaviour that is experienced as loss, pain or suffering. They are generally not related to the negative behaviour themselves. They are generally used as means to control the child's behaviour through fear. Most people naturally want to avoid punishment. If the child fears bad behaviour will lead to pain, suffering or loss they will avoid engaging in that behaviour.



Consequences directly relate to the behaviour itself. They are generally naturally occuring results of negative behaviours. Usually followed by discussions with the child about 'cause and effect'. ex: You jumped on the couch after we asked you to sit and as a result you fell down and hurt your leg.

A logical consequence would be a consequence the parent controls. ex: if you don't pick up your toys when I ask, we will put them in a bag and give them to good will.



It is important when using consequences to have the child *own* their own consequences. So that it's not the parent punishing them. When we are punished, it is easy to take the blame/anger off ourselves for the action and put it on the 'punisher'.



So basically, the goal of consequences is to teach the child to take their own responsibility for their actions. Whereas, with punishments the parent/authority takes responsibility for their child's actions.



I don't see anything wrong with a parenting style that uses punishments as a last resort. It's just something I personally try to avoid.

There are two different ways to use timeouts:

1. Replaces spankings (punishment) for a more hands off approach. And uses timeouts in the form of a punishment for negative behaviour. The lesson being taught is not always directly related to the behaviour. The child is 'forced' to sit or do their time as a penality. Which can lead the child to be angry with their parents instead of angry at the behaviour itself.



2. It is as a tool for runaway emotions, which lead to negative behaviours. It is used as a tool to 'take a break' from the action when things get heated before we react negatively. For a toddler, runaway emotions may result in hitting, snatching away toys, biting, pinching.



So the child is removed to calm themselves down until they can return to the situation and solve the problem calmly. In a 'time in' approach. They are also more receptive to discussions on the negative behaviour. You can sit with the child, wait until they are calm and then discuss how appropriately to handle the situation that made them angry/frustrated. Teaching them problem solving skills.



It can also be achieved by modelling the behaviour yourself of taking a timeout. When the parent is angry/frustrated and feels like yelling or reacting out of angry they can show their children an appropriate way to handle these strong emotions by giving themselves a TO. Returning to discuss the situation, find a solution when they are calmed down and rational.



So the difference as I understand it; is consequences are used to teach the child how to own their own actions. To be angry with the behaviour itself and not the parent/authority figure for implementing a punishment.

Charlie - posted on 07/25/2011

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I also think there is a vast difference between punishment and discipline in terms of parenting , logical consequences is just a name for something that really comes naturally to most parents and it falls under discipline , to teach , using logic.
I actually do not think a child should ever be punished.

In reguards to wanting to feel better , I get the feeling that perhaps people want us to feel guilty ...honestly I feel no guilt whatsoever I am 100% comfortable in my discipline , I have no need to feel better.

Having said that my son is right now vacuuming up the ashes he shoveled onto the carpet while he was "digging for gold" - logical consequence.

He isnt upset or afraid about the consequence but he is sorry for making the mess especially since I promised the park once the house was clean and now he has to wait until he has finished cleaning his mess.

Minnie - posted on 07/25/2011

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Been out all weekend. I'm tired, lol.

Shannen, we don't keep any food in this house that we wouldn't have a problem with our children choosing to eat at any point in time. They're allowed free range of the kitchen. Alcohol is out of their reach :).

If my kids want cheese, they can eat cheese. They can eat cheese for every meal until they get sick of it. And they do. Or if they want applesauce all day long for three days, so be it. You ate all the avocados today? Sorry, no more money for avocados this week.

It's no big deal for us.

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Sal - posted on 07/26/2011

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something else that has worked in my house, for the toddlers and the teen alike is when i have to do something becasue they haven't done their chores or have made a mess that i have to clean up, they lose mum minuites, that is they don't get something from me that takes that amount of time, i just told my daughters to clean their toys in the bed room, and if it wasn't done by bed time, i would have to do it then and it would mean i wouldn;'t have time to read a story, they just finished!!! the same when my son got kicked off the bus it took me 15 hours almost over the week to drive him to school and back, so he owed my 15 hours of house work, he soon came to realise mums time is important..

Jodi - posted on 07/26/2011

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Becky, I'd actually put a lock on the cupboard or put things out of his reach. My daughter was a shocker for getting into things and I put locks on the fridge and the pantry to stop this sort of thing. She did eventually grow out of it. It is pretty normal 3 year old behaviour, they are just going through a phase of curiosity. Instead of allowing them to get into it, involve them a little in your cooking, and they can get to satisfy their curiosity in a controlled environment. This also solves the problem of consequences.

Of course, if this isn't possible, then it's not possible. I don't know the layout of your kitchen.....

Sal - posted on 07/25/2011

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were you cooking at the time? if so show him how they go in the food, let him taste cake batter without sugar then with sugar, so he knows why it is important to not waste it, another thing is maybe when you are shopping buy a replacement spice, then tell him he can't have a packet of biscuits he likes to pay for them let him see you put the item back on the shelf and tell him you can't buy the spice and the treat so the treat is going back....and if you are going to sell the wiggles tickets take him to the store with the money to buy them so he knows where the money is comming frm and going to

Becky - posted on 07/25/2011

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Oh, I will follow through. It would break my heart, (because it would upset him, not because I'm dying to see the Wiggles!) but I would do it. I'm very careful about the threats I make! I don't want to do it though, so now I keep a close eye on him and warn him if I see him headed for the pantry.

Sal - posted on 07/25/2011

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one thing i have to make a comment on becky is that you muxt never make a threat that you aren't willing to follow through, like grounding a kid for 6 months, or not going to a party, they will learn soon enough to call your bluff,
not a sure what to try, i think a timeout might work, and lock the cupboard,

Becky - posted on 07/25/2011

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What would you do with a 3 year old who is almost daily, deliberately, dumping things - usually food - on the floor? Last week, he emptied 3 of my spice jars! After the 3rd, I told him spices were expensive and that if he dumped another one on the floor, I was going to have to sell his Wiggles tickets so I would have money to pay for more spices. He hasn't dumped anymore spices, but today he emptied the sugar bowl. Aaargh! So, was that a punishment, or a logical consequence?

Editted to add, I didn't sell the tickets for the sugar, as I had specified the spices. I think I'm going to have to change the warning to dumping any food on the floor. He had to sit on the couch until I was done cleaning up. Normally, I'd make him clean it up, but with sugar, he would've just made a bigger mess!

Becky - posted on 07/25/2011

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For the record, I don't spank my kids for jumping on the couch, although they are not allowed to do so. They do get time-outs for it if they don't stop when they are told to stop, but the time-out is actually for not listening, not for jumping on the couch, per se. Usually, I suggest that they can take the cushions off the couch, put them on the floor, and jump on those. Our couches are old and I'd actually love for them to break so we were forced to replace them, lol! But, I wouldn't love for one of my kids to split his eye open on the coffee table falling off the couch!

[deleted account]

Jennifer, I would always use redirection first, especially with a toddler, but I was trying to convey a situation where the child was doing something repeatedly after being told repeatedly not to do it, thus implying that redirection had already been carried out.

I also did say in my first post (at least I think I did, if I didn't, my apologies) that it was impossible to use natural consequences all the time, and that is why we also use logical consequences.

I still think removing the privilege of using the sofa is a better consequence than getting a spanking or time out from mom (which I would consider a punishment), because the former is closer to what would happen if he broke the sofa and there was no mom around to punish him.

Also, my son is 6, so I was thinking more in his age bracket. Dealing with a toddler would certainly be different, but I still feel the tot would get the idea after a day without a sofa.

Sal - posted on 07/25/2011

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another thing that works for us on the all day eating for me was to make an event out of meals....morning tea on a pretty plate, out on the varandah or a teddys bear picnic on a rug under the tree for example so that they know that if they wait for morning tea it is going to be special (even if it is just chopped fruit and handful of crackers or a vegemite sandwich and a glass of milk)

Jenni - posted on 07/25/2011

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@Kelly, I do have a few concerns using the jumping on the couch scenerio and allowing a natural consequence to occur or providing a logical consequence.

A natural consequence is by pure chance, your child *may* fall off the couch and get hurt. He may not and continue to jump. He may not care or understand the sofa can break and his parents would have spend money to get a new one. Especially, if the child is a toddler.



That is when a parent may choose a punishment like a timeout penality or a spanking.



I would/have used redirection in that example. I would say: "I love your jumping! But let's jump on the floor instead, we don't jump on the couch." Or "Couches are for sitting on our bums, can you try sitting on your seat?"



You could even invest in a small trampoline for a child that really enjoys jumping and redirect him towards that.



But that would be difficult thing to explain to a toddler without receiving the 'huh?' look. So for this particular example I'd go with redirection.

Sal - posted on 07/25/2011

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shannan, i have the same issue here, they eat some many carrots i feel i'm living with bugs bunny, what i do is have one crisper in the fridge for home eating and one for school....the kids (and my hisband) know never to touch the school food...
and for the carrot thing i am getting close to serving tinned peaches with their sausages and mash to prove th point that if you eat all the carrots (i am talking 3-4 kg a week) that i do runout and have none for tea

Sal - posted on 07/25/2011

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ohhh my teen son is right this moment facing some natural consequences, he choose to stay home and watch tv and ride to school instead of catching the bus, but when he was leaving he couldn;t find his helment (which i tell him time and time again to put away properly) so is running late and is going to have to explain his latness to the teacher....what chance is there he will put the helment away properly tomorrow

Minnie - posted on 07/25/2011

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Maybe they need meals higher in fat and protein so they don't have a craving to snack all day? I mean really jack up the fat and protein so they're just stuffed, lol. And like Feen said, a designated amount they can pick from.

[deleted account]

I understand what you are saying, Becky, but if the consequence of jumping on the sofa is only a parentally inflicted one, he will never learn the real consequences. Like you said, you can explain it until you are blue in the face, but he is not going to understand the consequence until he experiences it. By giving a punishment rather than letting him experience a natural or logical consequence, you are only teaching him that he should not jump on the sofa because mom will punish him--then when he is a teen home alone with no mom to punish him, he will jump on the sofa and learn the real consequence--a broken sofa. Basically, no one is going to spank him or stick him in time-out for jumping on his sofa when he's an adult, but he needs to know not to jump on his sofa and why before then.



As for the child eating the food. Ideally, the natural consequence of running out of their favorite food would be best, but since you need it saved for a specific purpose I would try the following.

Put the fruit and cheese out of reach.

Put a note on it stating what it should be used for, and listing alternative foods to eat instead.

If they still eat it, they need to use their allowance to buy fruit to replace what they ate.

Charlie - posted on 07/25/2011

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Shannen maybe you could make a pick platter for the day that they can go and pick at that way you could control how much they eat and save the rest for another day .

Sal - posted on 07/25/2011

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i dont; think there is a one rule/method fits all occations i do use a variety of methods depending on the issue at hand
firstly as i have 2 small children we still have the odd tanty issue (both at home and in public) my fisrt response is to try and divert their attention long enough that it just won't start, this is most effective when we are shopping, i ask them to choose something not associated with the tantrum at all, then if that doens't work i (as long as there is no safety issue) just let them have the tanty and scream it out, no reaction from me makes for a pretty short and half arsed tantrum....i don;t try a time out or threats of punishment just ignor them....i also have a rewards system in place, they know that if they behave during shopping they get a ride on the wiggles car while i am paying (it is maybe 5-10 mts from the check out)

for other issues i do always try with the 1 2 3 system, i don't give a warning, i don;t talk the issue through, i just say 1, more often than not that is enough to stop any problems, clearly there are times when i do get to 2 and 3, then i do a time out,

i also think that the punishment should fit the crime, last week my daughter walked out of the shop with a choc up her jumper (she is 3) so i made her pay for it (as she had it pretty mangled) then made her put it in the bin, she then didn;t have a coin for the wiggle car, and no treat either

i do also let natural consqueces follow through as well, we were going to a party and they dressed them selves in their fav dress, then after i repeatly told them to stay inside and keep clean while i dressed went and played in the mud outside, so i made them change before we went and they cried there was no pretty dress, but it was their own actions that got them there....

i do also use a smack when i think that the natural consequence is too dangerous and the lesson needs to be quick and memorable, running on the road, touching the oven or playing with the heater, for me a smack on the hand workd best they associate the act with the smack and don;t touch, all the talk isn;t going to do anything, they haven't seen a person run over and can;t really comprehend the pain of a burn so i think a quick tap is te best option,

[deleted account]

My kids can eat whatever they need to but i do shopping one day and the next it's all gone. I'm money tight and My daughter needs fruit for her school, It's a sharing system, but they go crazy on it and if i didn't stop them they would eat it all and she wouldn't have any for school.
Same with the cheese and milk. I don't think they should be punished or have logical consequences either but i'm at a loss as to solving the issue. If i were to do what Lisa does and just say oh well it's all gone until shopping day or whenever then it would just eb a vicious cycle of them eating it all every shopping day because they are missing out in between.

Charlie - posted on 07/25/2011

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I dont think a child should be punished or have logical consequences for being hungry but like Lisa my kids can eat when they need to.

Charlie - posted on 07/25/2011

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I use time out as a time to recenter themselves , calm down , think and then act , its a way to learn to control their emotions and actions , I dont use time outs in the "stand in the corner " or "sit on the naughty step" time out .
Punishment to me is inflicting something unpleasant onto another in retaliation to wrong behaviour now this could be classified with logical consequences however I see two main difference in reguards to parenting.

When we speak in parenting terms punishment for me is using negative or unpleasant as a way to teach that has very little to nothing to do with the action that we deemed wrong in the first place ....like spanking or removing a toy because they were jumping on the bed.

Logical consequences are different , they need to be directly related to the "crime" , logical consequences make the child responsible for their behaviour , they throw their toys around the room , they have to pack it all away .

They run out into the street ? they have to parctice staying safe within the confines of the yard until they learn how to behave in the street with an adult.

I think there is difference between using bad behaviour as a life lesson in consequences than to simply punish without connection to the action .

Really logical consequences is just a name for just that , logic , most parents practice this is some way shape or form.

Stifler's - posted on 07/25/2011

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My kid isn't old enough for punishment, I just let him slam his fingers in the drawer if "come away from the drawers and play with this"50 times isn't taking effect.

[deleted account]

Alright what would someone use that was as simple as the children going to the fridge all the time and eating all the cheese? Or going to the fruit bowl and eating all the fruit piece after piece.
Natural/logical consequence or punishment? What would work?

Becky - posted on 07/25/2011

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The point of the time-out or spanking would be to reinforce that jumping on the couch isn't just a bad idea, it is unacceptable and will have consequences. I can explain to Cole that he might fall and crack his head or that he might break the couch and we would have to buy a new one and not have money to buy him new toys until I am blue in the face. If his jumping on the couch is not followed up with a consequence, he will still be jumping on it again 2 minutes later!

[deleted account]

That is true, Teresa, the mom could explain why jumping on the couch is a bad idea along with the time out or spanking, but then what would be the point of the time out of spanking?

The point of a logical consequence is to let the child experience a consequence as close as possible to the natural consequence of the action. In real life, when the child is grown, no one is going to put them in time out or spank them when they jump on their sofa. Instead, the sofa is going to break and they will be without a sofa, or they will get hurt.

[deleted account]

I utilise natural consequence parenting with my children but I also use other things such as time-out as well. If Ethan is doing something that will hurt him but not seriesly hurt him then I will ask him twice to stop (or as it is usually to get down) then if he still does it I warn him that he will hurt himself if he chooses to continue, then when he hurts himself I explain why he should listen to mummy when she asks him to stop.

I think time outs are incredibly useful if done in a consistant way, the child needs to know why they are being put in a time out and how long they have to be in it for and then they need an explanation when they leave time out. I use time outs when Ethan's behaviour makes it hard to use a natural consequence - such as being rude to people, the natural consequence is they will be rude back but being rude is not acceptable imo.

Dyan I'd be tempted to get him to write an essay (how long depends on his age) explaining why it is wrong to call people names especially when it is done to wind them up or you could get him to write an apology letter everytime he upsets his brother. Most kids hate having to do things like this and they are making him think about why he should change his behaviour.

[deleted account]

Natural consequences... "I told you so" parenting.
Logical consequences... punishment fits the crime parenting.

I agree with Mary. It's arguing semantics. I avoid punishments and encourage positive behaviour as much as I can but when the situation requires I employ punishments that fit the situation. If a toy gets thrown in temper, I take the toy away. It's a logical consequence but it's still a punishment to the child.

Logical consequences just fits better with the PC AP mantra!

Jenni - posted on 07/25/2011

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I enjoyed your first post. I was going to reply to it more in depth but I got distracted. ;) I believe Sherri said something similar to the effect. It does become really hazy when trying to understand where everyone is coming from in these sort of debates because of the individual interpretations of the terms.

I came in having a clear definition between punishments and consequences but now I'm getting lost and confused. lol

I get what you're saying in your second paragraph. But for me, it's not that I am trying to escape being the cause of the negative result of the behaviour, for myself that is. I use to punish. I use to use timeouts as a punishment. What I'm trying to achieve now is to *try* to be the mediator rather than the enforcer. That is my goal at least. In the hopes that my children learn to take responsibility for their own negative choices. Not because I'm afraid to punish them. Or because they are afraid to be punished by me. I'm trying to teach self-discipline over authorative punishments.

But, I don't have my disciplinary methods down pact... my children are still relatively young and I am still relatively young as a mother. So I'm glad Sarah started this debate because I often found these discussions a bit hazy and I think this debate will help clear it up a bit.

Mary - posted on 07/25/2011

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Jennifer, I think we are misunderstanding each other. I'm not really arguing about the differences in parenting methodologies or tactics. I'm suggesting, much like the OP, that in many, many scenarios, the difference between "punishment" and "consequence" (particularly of the logical sort) is really just a question of semantics.



I do find some truth in the quote I used in my first post that calling it a consequence is more about making the parent feel less like they are "punishing" in response to a behavior. In a way, it seems like the parent is trying to escape (in their own mind) being the cause of negativity by rationalizing that whatever negative outcome is a consequence of the child's choice. It is....but it is also the parent setting limits, and responding when those limits are ignored.



**ETA** To me, just because the response is directly related to the action, it does not necessarily reduce the unpleasantness from the child's perspective, nor does it absolve the parent from being the agent who enacts the negative outcome. It might be a "smarter", or more rational response. It may be more conducive to the overall learning process for the child. However, I don't think that means it isn't still, in essence, a punishment.

Jenni - posted on 07/25/2011

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Mary, I don't believe I suggested anything for *your* child. I was talking about mine. I have added at least 2 disclaimers to previous posts, I thought adding an additional one be redundant. I am only talking about my household.... I couldn't possibly know what would/wouldn't, does/doesn't work for anyone else's.



Nor am I saying my methods are better or more effective than anyone else's. I am not so brash to think my methods are going to work for every family, every child.



I even said in my OP that "I don't see anything wrong with a parenting style that uses punishments as a last resort. It's just something I personally try to avoid."



So just to clarify for any future posts. I'm only talking about my methods in my *own* family.

Mary - posted on 07/25/2011

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Wait a minute, Jennifer...I'm confused...are you suggesting that my 2.5 y/o shouldn't walk around the neighborhood after dinner until she can "understand the need to be cautious"? Sorry, but I'm all about my kid getting as much fresh air and physical activity as possible. And while she may not comprehend the intricacies of road safety, she is in possession of a remarkable memory, and she does know that our "rule" is holding hands in parking lots and streets. However, she's 2.5, and rather strong-willed. Despite knowing the "rule" she does at times, chose to defy it.



The girl is all about doing things "by myself", and has been for quite some time. She hasn't been in a stroller since about 18 months (which, although a PIA at times, I actually think is good for her). Which is why, to enable this independence in movement, we have developed "rules" about independent movement. It's the same with going shopping. She hates being in the cart. I am fine with her walking in the store, but the rule is that she must stay by my side or "touching" the cart, unless I give her permission to do otherwise. The "logical consequence" of not abiding by these rules (i.e. running down the aisle) is that she must ride in the seat of the cart. IT is directly related to her action. However, I think you could just as easily call that a punishment, since it is, "...is the authoritative imposition of something negative or unpleasant on a person or animal in response to behavior deemed wrong by an individual or group."

Jenni - posted on 07/25/2011

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With the classic 'running into the street' scenerio. I wouldn't consider carrying the child a logical consequence to teach them a lesson. I would consider it a necessary precaution to protect a child who doesn't understand road safety. I wouldn't do it in the hopes the child learned something from it.



I will/have saved teaching rules of the road for when my children can understand rules of the road and the meaning of danger through discussions and practicing safety procedures. Before they are old enough to understand, I have/do always keep them safe and secure around roads and parking lots. They don't walk on their own, until they can understand they need to be cautious in those areas and understand the natural consequences through discussions.

September - posted on 07/25/2011

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I would agree with you Teresa, as every child responds to parenting techniques differently. I'm sorry you hold onto that guilt and regret.

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Using logical/natural consequences instead of punishment doesn't automatically eliminate shame/guilt. I was NEVER punished as a child and yet the amount of internal guilt that I place on myself when I do something wrong is insane. To the point that I still think about misdeeds I did as young as 11 (things no one EVER found out about) and regret them.... still, at 34.



And yes, I've got issues.

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He'll learn that jumping on the sofa is not a good idea if mom tells him why it's not a good idea. You can do that w/ or w/out the time out... He could get the time out or spanking for not listening to mom (punishing for direct disobedience) AND an explanation to learn better for 'next time' (and hopefully AVOID a next time). I don't believe that either approach is wrong. Just a difference in parenting style and/or kid's personality.

September - posted on 07/25/2011

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I think there is a distinctive difference between natural/logical consequences and punishment. Using consequences instead of punishment helps a child understand the next logical step when making a good or a poor choice. When children realize naturally that the result of totally messing up their room is spending lots of time cleaning it up, they will gradually begin to think before they act. Logical consequences are effective in stopping the behavior and are respectful of the child and helps them to take responsibility for their actions. While effective in stopping the misbehavior of the moment, punishment does little to increase responsibility in a child and often calls upon an element of shame. Logical consequences respond to the misbehavior in ways that preserve the dignity of the child, the message is that the behavior is a problem, not that the child is a problem. My MIL is a teacher and always spoke highly about Love and Logic so we tried it with our son and it works wonderfully. As far as time outs go I’d say we use a form of time out but don’t call it time out. We remove our son for the situation, give him time to cool down and then we talk about whatever it is that needs to be addressed.

Sherri - posted on 07/25/2011

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Interesting Jen because my way to handle that scenario would be everyone would go out and the one that chose not listen would be made to sit in a chair for the entire time and not be able to play or participate. I do not think it is fair to punish the children that did what was asked of them. So the one that chose not to listen would be the only one punished. (and yes I have done just that, they NEVER chose not to clean up again, because having to sit for an hour while all your siblings or friends got to play was plain torture to them.)

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I don't think they are really the same at all. To me, a punishment is a consequence decided and carried out by the parent that is not related to the action. A natural consequence is a direct consequence of the action--the parent does not need to interfere for it to happen, other than an explanation. A logical consequence is decided and carried out by the parent, but unlike a punishment, it is directly related to the action.

For example: A child continues to jump on the sofa against his mom's wishes.

Natural Consequence: He gets hurt or the sofa gets broken. (mom didn't have to do anything, but the boy still experienced a consequence)

Logical Consequence: Mom removes him from the sofa and forbids him from playing or sitting on it for the rest of the day. (mom had to define and carry out the consequence, but it is directly related to the action because he was mistreating the sofa, he can no longer use the sofa)

Punishment: Mom puts the kid in time out for 5 minutes or gives him a spanking. (Mom will explain that he is in time out because he jumping on the sofa, but he will only learn that jumping on the sofa makes mom put him in time out. He will not learn WHY jumping on the sofa is not a good thing to do).

We cannot always use Natural Consequences because sometimes the consequence is too severe. That is when we use Logical Consequences. In the logical consequence v/s the punishment, the child gets to experience what not having a sofa is like, which would be a natural consequence of breaking the sofa (b/c if the sofa breaks, no one can use it).

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I have no problem w/ punishment. I was raised in a very 'hands off' discipline method. I never DID anything, so the 'logical/natural consequence' of that was.... that I never DID anything... ever.... because I didn't want to.

It's really screwed me up, so I have absolutely no problem whatsoever taking a more hands-on approach w/ my kids (and I'm not actually talking about spanking by saying that). I may screw them up... I'm willing to own that, but I will NOT screw them up in the same ways my parents screwed me up. ;)

Jenni - posted on 07/25/2011

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Yes, we all wouldn't be allowed to go outside. I do have multiple children. I have 3. But one is my SD so she is only here half the time the other is only 14 months. When my SD is here my son does not refuse because he has her to help him. My 14 month old also 'pitches in' because she wants to do like the older two. They all model the behaviour for each other.



But yes we are a team, a family. One person's decision in a family or team effects other members or their teammates. So we all suffer for one person's decision. It may not be 'fair' but that is life. We have to encourage our teammates to try harder. We have to pick up the slack for the younger ones (or those with less ability) because our ultimate goal is for the team to have the best results and learn to work together for the best possible outcome.

Sherri - posted on 07/25/2011

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Now Jen how would you have handled that situation if you had multiple children and only one child decided they didn't want to clean up?? Do you punish all the kids by not going out for ones ill behavior??

Jenni - posted on 07/25/2011

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Sarah: Yes taking a toy away would be a punishment. It would be a form of loss. That's why I said it's important for the child to *own their own consequences*. But I handle the picking up of toys differently in my household. We go outside every morning. So if my kids refuse to pick up their toys, I tell them: "We can't go outside until you pick up your toys." To me this is a natural consequence because we adults have to finish our chores before we can play. Or tidy up after ourselves before engaging in another activity. My kids are also not allowed to play in another room until they tidy up the previous room. So I will ask them if their bedroom is clean. If they say 'no'. I say: "We have to tidy up our bedroom before we can play in another room."

I believe wording is key. I am not demanding for them to tidy up. I am leaving the ball in their court to decide for themselves. If they'd like to play in the livingroom, they have to tidy their room first.

This has worked in my family, I'm not saying it will work for all. (Just a disclaimer). But we've only not gone outside twice because my son decided not to tidy his toys. When he cried because we couldn't go out. I told him I was sad too that we couldn't go outside. That I really wished he would have cleaned up his toys so *we* could go out. We both experienced the consequences of his actions. I was warning him of the logical consequences of his actions. It was up to him to decide. He chose not to tidy up, we couldn't go outsides. When he chooses to tidy up, we get to go outside.

So the difference is... you are still taking responsibility for you child's action by take the toy away yourself. Which yes, is indeed a punishment.

If a child falls and experiences pain, that is a natural conseqence because *I* (the parent) did not implement the 'pain'. The action or behaviour did, not the parent.

The goal of consequences is for the child to experience negative naturally (for the most part) occuring consequences as a result of the behaviour. Followed up with discussions with the parent about cause and effect. With as little parental intervention as possible.

Yes it is ultimately up to me if we go outside. I am still the authority figure. But I am also ultimately giving him the power to decide for himself what we do. So when it results in us not going outside. He has only himself to blame and we both experience the loss together as his actions effect others as well. I didn't punish him for it, I just didn't reward his refusal to own his own actions.

Sarah - posted on 07/25/2011

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I always thought that a time out was used to a) remove the child from the situation. b) give them a chance to calm down. c) give them a chance to think about what they've done.

I've also never put either of my kids in time out without firstly explaining why they're there........but afterwards sitting down with them and having a conversation about what happened, what they could do next time etc etc.

I would imagine that it's common sense (for most parents) that just getting them to sit there without the child knowing why or without talking it through with the child after wouldn't be as effective as actually explaining things to them.

Tara - posted on 07/25/2011

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I think the old way of time out is being frowned upon, the minute per age in a special place, set aside just for punishment in time out, much like the corner or the dunce cap, it separates a child from the current situation, but it also separates them from the action that led them there.

This is counter productive to the goal of helping children learn to deal with things and move on. Often children placed in time out for a set amount of time, spend that time, angry about being there, not thinking about what led them there in the first place. Although we can ask for an apology and ask that they don't do it again, it is still a form of punishment that doesn't really further a child's emotional development.

Now, that said, time outs are appropriate in our house for calming down, taking space and re-collecting ourselves before we engage in any dialogue or continue doing what we were doing.

They are meant as a positive way to help the chemicals in our brains return to normal levels so that when we react to things, we do so as rationally as we can.

This means adults take "time out" as well.

It means that I can tell the child who is becoming out of control or who has lost his ability to react in a way that is respectful, "you need to take some space to calm down, deep breathing will help you." they then can go where they choose, as long as they are not engaging others in a negative way.

This method used this way is a natural way to reduce conflict and confrontation when emotions are running high.

My kids are taught about brain chemistry and how our emotions are affected by chemicals and that these chemicals can only stay heightened for a short time if you don't add fuel to them.

I give the analogy of a flame that receives no oxygen and so goes out, opposed to one that is fanned and then grows larger.

So time outs mean different things to different people.

I take time outs more often than my kids do. I take them when my emotions are running high, not just when I am frustrated etc. but also when I am sad or upset, I take time to breathe, collect myself and allow those chemicals to be diluted so that they return to normal.



It's biological chemistry in a simple form.



I also use the term "punishment should fit the crime" and have in all my almost 18 years of parenting, long before I heard the term "logical or natural consequences".

Sherri - posted on 07/25/2011

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I think it gets way to confusing once you start labeling everything with a trillion different names. I find that is the worst when it comes to debating because for each person the different names cause such confusion that they could all be doing the same thing but because of the different names if can get misconstrued. Discipline, punishment, natural/logical consequences etc. In the end really they are all so similar that nobody realizes they can be doing multiple of these.

Sarah - posted on 07/25/2011

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I suppose I still see the natural/logical consequences to be a form of punishment (or maybe discipline is a better word for it).

Child won't put their toys away......toys get taken away (so they're experiencing loss)

Child doesn't listen when you tell them to be careful, they fall over. (they experience pain)

Also, surely natural/logical consequences still work on a "fear" basis. A child will fear the natural or logical consequences......they fall off the couch, they fear hurting themselves again, so they won't do it. Mummy takes the dolls away, they fear losing all their toys.....so they put them away in future.

The other thing is, the parent is still the "punisher/disciplinarian" as it's the parent who controls what the consequence will be.
There's often more than one outcome to a certain action.

Jenni - posted on 07/25/2011

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Dyan, when/why does he pester his brother? That's the question you need to ask yourself. Part of positive parenting is giving our children the tools to solve their issues themselves. So if you can figure out the root of the behaviour it makes it easier to find a solution.



If it were the younger brother pestering the older brother, I'd probably say more than likely he just want his older brother's attention. As younger children are often desperately seeking acceptance and involvement from their older siblings. But it's really a question only you as his mom (who witnesses the behaviour daily) can pin point, why he does it. To get a reaction? If so, who is he trying to get a reaction from? Is it you, your partner, or his brother?

Is it a learned behaviour?

Was he told he was too small to do certain things when he was younger?

As for the baby talk... I'm guessing it gets him attention. And even if he is willing to break the habit, it is still difficult to break a habit.

My sister was a baby talker well into her teenage years and even university. I believe she did it because she felt people went softer on her when she used it. For it is was a means of avoiding punishment. Until as an adult she learned other adults didn't stand for it and she stopped receiving positive reinforcement for it.



I also believe that we *all* have annoying behaviours. Even many adults like to pester people to get reactions from them. To feel authority over them. Or whatever other reason. It's important to understand we're human and we're all going to have *some* behaviours that are not desirable. So pick your battles. As we've all heard before.



If it is an attention seeking behaviour the more you react to it, whether it be positive or negative... the more he will engage in it. Some children don't care what attention they are receiving, as long as they're receiving attention. So be sure that you are providing enough attention for positive behaviours.

Sherri - posted on 07/25/2011

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Eh I am a more punishments type parent then logical consequences. You decide to break the rules then time out (standing on in the corner with your face on the wall) for my kids as well as the daycare kids they are given 2 warnings, after that straight to the time out wall or for my older kids you decide to back talk, roll your eyes, not do what you are told to do or do it with attitude, don't do your homework then you are grounded. (I ask once for the older kids, will give one reminder after that and the next time I have to say something you are grounded)

All my kids have been taught the rules since day one. They are well aware of what is expected of them. So when they break the rules they are more than aware they are breaking them or not doing what is acceptable.

Rosie - posted on 07/25/2011

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that was beautifully worded jennifer!! i have a really hard time trying to have natural consequences fit certain "crimes" that my oldest child does. he doesn't do the normal things that would require punishment. like doing things so much purposely and OCD like, to annoy his brothers. he'll purposely say to lucas "you're to pall" (which is baby talk for small, he won't stop talking baby talk at 11). like at least once every twenty minutes. lucas gets all pissed, and screams, and then i tell him to stop. obviously that doesn't work, but what the hell else am i supposed to do? there doesn't seem to be any natural consequence to it other than lucas getting pissed which grant seems to enjoy. IDK. removing him from the situation isn't working either, he'll just do it again 20 minutes later. i've taken privledges away, i've spanked him (when i did spank) NOTHING works.
he does that type of thing ALL THE TIME. always "play" spanking his brothers. he doesn't do it hard, he just does it so often it bugs the shit out of them. IDK. i'm at a loss, cause i really do like the idea of natural consequences/positive parenting.

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