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2 Responses to Is That Natural Consequence You are Allowing Really a Good Discipline Choice?

  1. Juliet Kemp

    Great article! One thing though – I’d say that a couple of your natural consequences are really logical consequences. They’re imposed by the parent, but they have a strong link to what happened. If a child spills, the natural consequence is just that there’s a puddle (so when my toddler knocked his water over yesterday, given the direction it went in, the natural consequence was that he got soggy trousers!). Helping to clear it up is a decision that the parent makes. (Possibly the same with the wet toy, unless there’s a reason why it won’t work when it gets wet.)

    Leon couldn’t have refused to get wet from the spilled water, but he could have refused to help clear up – if you can refuse it, it’s not a natural consequence. Of course, depending on your parenting style, logical consequences can have a place – and they’re certainly better than “time out” style unrelated punishments 🙂

    I think you’re right to be wary of getting frustrated. The other thing I think one has to be careful of is not being mean. Like the toy left in the rain – if you spot it and leave it out there, your child may see you as *letting* that happen (which is different from them forgetting it and you not noticing it either). That can seem like you’re not on their side. If my partner left a book out in the garden I might roll my eyes but I don’t think I’d deliberately leave it to get wet, so I wouldn’t do that to my kid either.

  2. Justine Uhlenbrock  

    I experienced the flip side of natural consequences, what you might call “danger discipline,” the other day when we were getting ready to go outside. My three-year-old refused to put her snow boots on–bear in mind it was 10ºF outside with snow on the ground–so I let her walk outside thinking she would immediately return in to put her boots on. Instead, she began walking over to the car nonchalantly as if her feet weren’t even cold. I mention that story just to agree with your point that sometimes allowing a natural consequence doesn’t work out the way you think it will. In that case, I of course brought her back in and insisted she put on her boots, explaining the dangers of cold feet. Three is a stubborn age!