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How are consequences different than punishment?

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February 28, 2013 by admin

Clear Expectations

By Arwen McGilvra-

Again let us look at the definition.


1. An act or instance of following something as an effect, result, or outcome. 2. The conclusion reached by a line of reasoning.

A consequence naturally leads to training. It’s a logical effect of an action. And in the end consequences teach children to take responsibility for their actions.

A natural consequence happens as the result of an action without a parent or caregivers intervention. For example going outside without a coat on a winter day means you will get cold. Leaving a book outside in the rain means it will get wet and possibly be ruined. Touching a hot stove means you may get burned.

A logical consequence is administered by a parent or care giver. For example toys left out when they are told to pick up get taken away for 1 day. Or not finishing your dinner means no dessert, or no snacks afterward.

Because a consequence is linked to the action it’s non-judgmental. “Were-as” punishment carries a bad boy or bad girl label. Consequences are more positive in that way.

Consequence teach lessons when you to offer choices and talk about them. Try to keep your voice level and be firm but kind.

Example: “You left your DS out again after I told you to put it away. What should we do to help you remember to put it on your dresser when you are done? For now I’m going to keep it and you can’t play it until tomorrow.”

Not: “If I have to tell you again not to leave this DS on the kitchen counter I’m going to take it away!”

And remember to follow up. Catching them doing it right and praise them for that action will mean a lot more than any punishment.

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