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. You also know that decades of research show that when holding a boundary, using natural and logical consequences is more effective than punitive consequences.
So let us dig into natural consequences. As a parent, it can be tempting to constantly intervene and try to solve your child's problems for them. However, allowing your child to experience natural consequences can be a valuable teaching tool and can help them learn important life skills.
What are natural consequences?
Natural consequences are the result of a child's actions and are not imposed by a parent or caregiver. For example, if a child refuses to wear a coat, they may get cold when they go outside. If a child throws a toy, they may break it and it will have to be thrown out. These consequences are not imposed by a parent, but rather they are a natural result of the child's actions.
Why are natural consequences important?
Natural consequences can be an effective way to teach children responsibility and problem-solving skills. When children experience the natural consequences of their actions, they are more likely to understand the cause and effect of their behavior and to take ownership of their mistakes. This can help them learn to make better decisions in the future.
Natural consequences can also be a more effective way to teach children than imposing punishment. When children experience natural 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 natural consequences effectively:
- Be clear about the rules and expectations. Make sure your child understands the rules and expectations and the consequences that may occur if they are not followed.
- Avoid saving your child from the natural consequences of their actions. While it can be tempting to step in and solve your child's problems for them, allowing them to experience the consequences of their actions can be a valuable learning experience.
- Be consistent. It's important to allow natural consequences to occur consistently so that your child understands the cause and effect of their actions.
- Use natural consequences as a teaching opportunity. When your child experiences natural consequences, use it as a chance to have a conversation about their behavior and how they can make better decisions in the future.