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Natural consequences of actions, or a few words about raising difficult children

Natural consequences of actions, or a few words about raising difficult children

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The education of children by wise experts is identified with mature love, i.e. one that does not follow the slightest resistance line, but out of concern for the good of other people, sets certain requirements, sets rules, and teaches cooperation and shows emotions in a socially acceptable way. It is a love that is not afraid of what others will say, but focuses on the good of the child, who often likes to check the applicable rules not only at home, but at the market, on the playground: especially outside the home, testing, contrary to appearances, benign parents way.
What to do in such situations? Robert J. MacKenzie gives some hints in his book Stubborn Children. I would like to briefly introduce you to the principles known not only from the concept of this psychologist.

Natural consequences

Kids learning through experience often need many lessons, to see that certain rules are impassable and are put in place for their good. An example would be a situation when two five-year-olds receive their parents in a cardboard box. Instead of drinking them in peace, they decide to wrap them in the garden.

What should a parent do after seeing the "juice fight" asking for another box? MacKenzie advises against preaching, uttering famous sentences "and I did not say ...", advises that the parent point to the water bottle, indicating that the children have already received the juice, but can now drink as much water as they want.

Natural consequences are consequences for children resulting from a specific event and situation. Otherwise, learning from your mistakes is much more effective than unnecessary words, long lectures or allowing the child to meet the consequences only "next time". Their plus is the fact that they require little involvement on the part of parents. The solution brings life.

In what situations can science be used through the natural consequences of deeds?

  • If an item is lost.
  • When children get into the habit of being forgotten.
  • When children do not fulfill their duties.
  • When children lingering and whining.

Logical consequences

As an example of logical consequences, you can take your child taking blocks for the day when a few-year-old child does not want to clean up after himself, or forbidding riding a bike for a day or two when the child breaks the rule and goes out on the road without a head protector.

Logical consequences are related to a given situation or behavior. Perfect for children with a strong character. They teach responsibility and stop negative behavior. This method is more difficult than using natural consequences. There is a risk that parents will not be able to adapt the consequences to the situation, react unnecessarily emotionally, draw too light or far too exaggerated consequences.

That is why it is so important in this method applying a calm tone of voice (if we need a moment to calm down, it is worth informing the child about it and giving it a moment to cool down). In addition, there is no point too emotional for the task. If we focus our thoughts for a moment, we will be able to determine what consequences should be drawn in a given situation. In addition, it is worth remembering another rule: not to be discouraged by the initial rebellion or attempted discussions. Logical consequences of actions should be drawn as often as necessary. Sometimes, before a child learns certain rules, it is necessary to apply the same consequences several times to the same offense.

When can this rule be applied?

  • When children can't get along - we separate them for some time,
  • If a child does not respect toys or objects - we take them away for a while,
  • When children are messing up - children should clean up before doing anything else.
  • If a child does not want to wait their turn - they should be prohibited from performing the activity for some time.


The break procedure is often used by parents. Many authors of books discuss it. On the other hand, it is also often criticized. Is that right

This procedure is effective as long as it is used as a form of logical consequences. When used consistently, it helps you deal with anger and teaches your child how to solve problems without harming others.

The break procedure should not, however, be used as a prison sentence, a moment to humiliate a child, to embarrass him, to show who is in charge here. It is not about shouting authoritatively "March to your room! Don't leave until I let you. " It is also not a method of saying "I think it would be good if you went to the room and cooled down. Come, you will feel ready to talk "(in the latter case, because the breaks are usually too short).

A break is to cut off a child from bad things, give the opportunity to calm down, collect thoughts, understand improper behavior. For it to be effective, it should last from 5 to 20 minutes (depending on the child's age).

The break can be used as often as necessary. If:

  • the child hits another person
  • if the child does not show due respect,
  • when the child is aggressive.

Take physical control

This is the last method, which, as MacKenzie emphasizes, should not be confused with physical violence, beatings, humiliation, etc.

This method should be used when disobedience cannot be controlled otherwise (e.g. if the child refuses to go to his room, when the child does not change his behavior and is aggressive). There are situations when a child needs the help of parents to regain control.

Developed based on:
Robert J. MacKenzie "Stubborn children. From conflict to cooperation "