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Using logical consequences in parenting rather than punishment to promote corrective behavior

Punishment as used as a technique in parenting involves exerting power and enforcement over another person – natural and logical consequences places the individual in a position to use the results of an event to learn a corrective action for future similar events.  For example, if a cup of hot chocolate is placed on a table and a child is told to wait until it cools because it is still too hot to drink without burning their tongue and he/she ignores that and takes a sip the natural consequences of the unpleasant experience of mildly burning their tongue results in corrective action and the next time they are presented with a cup of hot chocolate they will be more likely to wait before sipping their hot chocolate. Natural consequences are based solely on the results of a child’s own direct acts and results in a direct response to a violation of the “natural order of events” such as hot drinks can burn tongues.  Using logical consequences involves a situation where the parent purposely sets up a result that provides an opportunity for the child to make a choice and allow the results of that choice to logically be related to the behavior as a tool of correction.  For example, if a young child does not want to finish their meal,  rather than entering into a power struggle with the child forcing them to eat, the parent instead informs the child it is their choice if they decide to finish or not finish their meal but that there will be no more food available until the next meal.  A logical consequences approach toward parenting does not enter into a power struggle with the child, and instead it calmly accepts the choices they make and allows the consequences of their behavior to occur.  The use of Logical Consequences in parenting as opposed to punishment teaches a child that his or choices are respected and provides a greater opportunity to learn from and process the results of their own decisions without the parent having to resort to a retaliatory use of power to force a behavioral change in their child.  http://emapdrschulz.com


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George O. Schulz, Ph.D.


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