As you know from all our other Earlybird articles and workshops, behavior changes when clear expectations are given, positive reinforcement is used to celebrate successes, and when warm boundaries are held.
As a parent, it can be tempting to turn to punishment as a way to discipline your child and teach them appropriate behavior. However, research has shown that using logical consequences instead of punitive punishments can be a more effective way to teach children and improve their behavior.
What are logical consequences?
Logical consequences are consequences that are directly related to a child's behavior and are used to help them understand the consequences of their actions. Unlike punishment, which is designed to inflict discomfort or negative emotions as a way to deter future misbehavior, logical consequences are meant to be educational and corrective.
For example, if a child makes a mess, a logical consequence might be to have them clean up. If a child isn’t meeting expectations while out to eat, a logical consequence would be to have to leave and go home.
Why are logical consequences important?
Logical consequences can be an effective way to teach children responsibility and problem-solving skills. When children experience logical consequences, they are more likely to internalize the lesson and understand why their behavior was inappropriate, rather than just trying to avoid punishment.
How to use logical consequences effectively:
- Be clear about the rules and expectations. Make sure your child understands the expectations and boundaries, as well as the consequences that may occur if they are not followed. You can give a warning before implementing a logical consequence so that you can be sure your child understands the expectation, boundary, and logical consequence that will occur if the behavior continues.
- Make sure the consequence is related to the behavior. Logical consequences should be directly related to the behavior in question and should help teach your child a lesson about the consequences of their actions. This means we want to avoid the “if you don’t do what I asked you lose your iPad for a week.” That is a punitive consequence that doesn’t teach children anything.
- Involve your child in deciding on the consequences. You don’t always have to be the one coming up with the consequences. You can collaboratively problem-solve with your kid, and have them come up with their own consequences. This can often help them buy-in and think more deeply about the behvaior.
- Be consistent. It's important to use logical consequences consistently so that your child understands the cause and effect of their actions. You also want to make sure that you clearly tell them what the logical consequences will be, that you stick to it. If you say you are going to do something, you need to follow through even if it's inconvenient for you.
- Use logical consequences as a teaching opportunity. When your child experiences a logical consequence, use it as a chance to have a conversation about their behavior and how they can make better decisions in the future.
Overall, using logical consequences instead of punitive punishments can be a more effective way to teach children and improve their behavior. By using logical consequences consistently and using them as a teaching opportunity, you can help your child learn important life skills and make better decisions in the future.