I was explaining different types of consequences to a client the other day and thought that it might be helpful to take a step back and give some definitions and examples. A consequence is the result of something that happened earlier. In the case of children it is usually the result of a behavior and seen as a negative result. There are two main types of consequences, natural and logical. Here are explanations of both and ways to make them work.
Natural consequences– you go out into the rain and get wet
- Once you’ve stated the consequence do not rescue the child
- Allow your child to experience their choices, safely
- After the situation talk with your child about making a different and better decision the next time and what that looks like
Logical consequences– ones we create e.g.: if, then.
- Positive logical – if you get these toys picked up quickly, we can have more time to play
- Negative logical – if you don’t pick these toys up, I am going to put them away for a few days
- Make sure the consequence is related to the child’s behavior and their actions
- Be as immediate as possible
- Match the intensity of the consequence to the intensity of the behavior
Allow your child to take responsibility for their actions and learn from them. Talk about ideas to help the situation ahead of time, like a checklist. Make the consequence something that YOU can follow through with. This takes time as well as practice, so be patient with yourself and your child.
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