As a mom, I wanted to be my son’s guide 24/7; however, I know how important it is to let him realize things on his own; to let him make mistakes and figure out the consequences on its own. I thought I was being tough on him but when I found out about natural consequences, I figured out that somehow, I was doing the right thing.
However, I won’t deny the fact that letting the toddler do whatever he wants and figuring out the consequences on its own is terrifying. But compared to old-school punishments, such as hitting with a belt, this one’s a better option.
Of course, this depends on your style of parenting. Some moms and dads have their own way of teaching a child a lesson and as long as it’s not going to be traumatic or adding emotional scars, I believe that’s perfectly fine.
Also, since my son’s barely 5 years old, it requires me to explain the consequences of his actions first and the next time he’s planning to do it again, I will explain a little more. The next, next time, I usually let him understand it on his own.
Don’t worry, it’s not as hard as you think. It can be as simple as not turning off the tablet if it’s bedtime. The consequence? Me, sleeping first, and not reading him a bedtime story at all.
Why Implementing “Natural Consequences” Is Worth A Try?
If there’s one reason why natural consequences are worth a try is because it helps the child realize and understand things. It often helps a kid bounce back from failure and/or learn how to overcome upcoming struggles.
Also, it lets the little one understand why a parent wanted them to do something. For instance, if it’s winter or rainy, a mom would want a girl to bring a jacket. For overprotective parents, the child’s conclusion for wearing one is because “her parents wanted her to.”
But if the child learns about the consequences, she’ll realize why she has to bring a sweater and it’s because it’s cold outside. That being said, they know the outcome of their actions because they’ve personally experienced the results of their behavior.
Natural consequences also strengthen critical thinking. For instance, the girl hesitated to wear a jacket yesterday and she was cold the whole day. She'd think about bringing a coat and/or anything that would keep her warm today before she goes out again.
Being able to experience things on their own helps them to think in advance in order to avoid discomfort or other unfortunate things to happen again.
As a parent, this would also make you feel better, knowing that you’re not the “bad guy” anymore. You don’t have to argue with the little one on why they should stop doing this and do that instead. There’s no need to insist on why they’re going to make a bad decision because eventually, they’ll figure it out on their own.
Of course, if it’s as extreme as stealing or even eating tons of candies, it’s a different approach. Rather than letting the kid actually get things without permission, you can explain it to them. For example, if he takes something he doesn’t own without consent, no one would trust him.
Or if she eats a lot of sweets, her teeth will suffer. For me, letting my kid know that we’ll go to the dentist unless he limits his chocolate consumption and brushes his teeth is enough. Kidding! But seriously, letting the kid realize the consequences, either by doing or explaining it saves time and patience.
When To Implement Natural Consequence
As always, too much of everything is bad. Therefore, if you’re planning to use natural consequences as a way to discipline your kid, you should do so in moderation. Be sure to consider a few things first, such as how it will influence your child’s behavior and development.
For example, if your child’s as young as mine, let’s say 2 to 4 years old, it might not be easy for them to fully understand what happened after an action. They are still too young so your guidance is extremely crucial.
Most of the time, this way of discipline applies to kids with ages 6 years old and above, especially teens. They can make decisions on their own and probably, they can link their actions to future results.
For instance, if your pre-teen doesn’t want to sleep early, the natural consequences may be: not being able to get up on time for school or feeling tired and/or sleeping the whole day.
Again, be sure to use this method in moderation and don’t compromise safety. For instance, when a kid is attracted to fire, it’s NOT right to let them touch it so that they know how it feels. Rather than letting them suffer the effect, explain to them properly why that action is harmful or unacceptable.
Do you agree with this method? How do you discipline your kids? What are the best techniques you use to teach your children?
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment box below.