Pretty Logical: 5 Ways To Teach Your child Values Through Logical & Natural Consequences
Every loving parent seeks to raise a well-disciplined child who is guided by certain values. An effective way to teach your child about important life values such as responsibility and self-control is to use the laws of natural and logical consequences. By teaching your child that their actions and choices yield certain consequences, they will be better prepared to make informed decisions and effectively solve the inevitable problems of growing up. Here is how you can get started:
1. Allow Your Child to Take Safe Risks
Children can learn from natural consequences. Natural consequences occur directly as a result of a child’ behaviour and not because the parent has imposed the consequences. For example, 7-year-old Sally completely refuses to eat breakfast before heading to school; the natural consequence is that she will start to feel hungry even before the morning break and she will not be able to concentrate in class. It is important to allow your children to learn from natural consequence without your interference. As long as the natural consequence is not dangerous and will not negatively affect other people, let our child learn those important lessons on his own; he might opt to talk to your about the consequence but it is not necessary for you to intervene or to impose further consequences.
2. Involve Your Child in Planning Logical Consequences
To teach your child valuable lessons, you need to involve him in developing logical consequences. It may not be feasible to develop a consequence for each behaviour in one sitting. Nevertheless, you can focus on a single behaviour, explain to your child the consequences of his behaviour and seek his input. This way, your child will not be confused when he acts in a certain way and you enforce a consequence. Immediately, he will understand that his own behaviour resulted in a certain consequence. When your child is aware of the relation between his actions and resulting consequences, he will be in a better position to assume responsibility.
3. Relate Logical Consequences with Behaviour
Your child is more likely to learn about cause and effect when the logical consequence proportionately relates to her behaviour. For example, 4-year-old Gracey decorates the walls with crayons after repeated requests that she stops this behaviour; a logical consequence would be to take the crayons away for an hour or two. Starving Gracey for colouring the wall would be an illogical consequence that would not help her to effectively learn the lesson of direct cause and effect. Be sure to consider your child’s age and developmental phase when enforcing consequences.
4. Make It Less About Punishment
Developing logical consequences for your children is really about teaching them valuable life lesson, imparting skills and fostering a sense of discipline. It should never be about punishing or hurting your child. Ensure that the logical consequences that precede behaviour are not imposed from a point parental anger. Logical consequences do not have to be too strong for them to be effective. For example, 16-year-old Jake violates the 10pm curfew and comes home at 1am. A disproportionate, punishment-based consequence would be to throw him out for the night. A proportionate, value-based consequence would be to discuss with him about his behaviour and perhaps ground him so he will not go out in the weekend or to take away his driving license for the week.
5. Enforce the Consequences
Your child will only internalize the values you seek to impart if you follow through with what you say. When teaching cause and effect, consistency is crucial. If 4-year-old Gracey colours the walls the first time and you take away her crayons, then the next time she colours the walls, you just look at her and smile, she will simply not understand the lesson that she cannot use crayons on the walls. Consistency in enforcing consequences will require you to take away the crayons every time Gracey colours the walls with them, until she sees that her behaviour is not acceptable and perhaps decides to colour books instead of walls.