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Parenting: Natural vs. Logical Consequences

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Parenting: Natural vs. Logical Consequences

Due to my experience working with children and their parents in a multitude of settings, I am often asked questions regarding discipline. In recent years, there has been an increase in brain studies or neuroscience and how it effects the development of children.

Child conscious parenting is coming to the forefront of popularity as parents strive to raise more emotionally stable people. I often explain to parents that they are not raising children -they are raising adults. By that I mean, your children need to be prepared to handle life once they become an adult. Many people of the “spare the rod, spoil the child” mentality often comment on how that is how they were raised and they turned out just fine. That may very well be true, however we also reap what we sow and the facts are that violence is on the rise.


With the advances in technology, kids, teens and young adults are being exposed to more physical, emotional and verbal violence and less problem solving skills. As a result, teens and young adults are putting out what they are taking in – violence.


I challenge the adults in children’s lives to teach them, rather that “punish” them. While this topic has many facets of conversation, I would like to focus on natural versus logical consequences.


Natural and Logical Consequences

Backed by numerous studies, natural and logical consequences are discipline/teaching techniques that have been taking the parenting community by storm. It focuses on teaching the child how real life works and that their actions have consequences- both positive and negative.


For instance, while a time out may help to control the child’s behavior, what connection does it have to breaking your sister’s doll? What does that teach in comparison to say… doing chores to earn the money to replace the doll? Or the child having to give their sister their own doll? These repercussions encourage the child to make the connection between their actions and the consequences. I imagine most parents would agree they would rather their children learn it that way instead of in their teenage years when they have to pay for their property destruction with community service. Or if it is anger regulation that is the issue, rather than putting them in “time-out” why not ask them to “take a break” before addressing the anger provoking situation again. This allows them a moment to feel the anger, breathe through it and eventually learn to approach the conflict in a more rational manner.

There are various ways in which to encourage the aforementioned life skills, some of the most popular are natural and logical consequences. Many of the parents I have worked with have heard these terms, but are rarely able to identify exactly what they mean.


A notable resource in this style is the book Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster W. Cline. However, below I am going to offer a quick reference between the two, in addition to, usable examples in real-life situations.


Logical Consequences

  • Arranged ahead of time
  • Usually arranged by parents
  • ALWAYS spoken with a calm demeanor
  • Some examples:
    • If you do not eat dinner then you do not get dessert
    • If you are 1/2 hour late for curfew this weekend, your curfew will be a 1/2 hour earlier next weekend



Natural Consequences

  • Follow the natural order of the universe
  • Are effective because they link the child with the reality of their behavior
  • Should not be used when
    • It cannot be carried out (no follow through)
    • It is detrimental
    • It places the child in danger
    • When voiced in an angry way
  • Some Examples:
    •  If the child wants to wear their bathing suit to school when it is snowing outside, allow them to do so (pack warm clothes), they will most likely change their mind really quick once they step outside.
    • If the child chooses not to do their chores, then they do not get their allowance. Without their allowance they do not have money for weekend activities – this would require the parent to be committed to not giving the child any spending money beyond what they earned or paying for any activities or items that are not necessities (food, water, shelter, clothes, love, compassion, acceptance  – these should NEVER be withheld for disciplinary purposes) and accepting the child’s decision not to do their chores.


Would you like more help?

While hitting the main points, obviously this blog merely scratches the surface. If you would like to discuss this further or if you have other parenting inquires you would like me to address, please feel free to contact me and set up a consultation at 704-507-0158 or Ashley.errico@gmail.com

Additionally, I offer a 3-4 hour parenting workshop entitled Big Feelings, Little Kids that is suitable for teachers, caregivers, day care centers, parents, church groups, brownie troop leaders etc. Please contact me to book the workshop today! For more information click here.

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