• hazeycassidy

Let's Talk Consequences...

I try not to use consequences too much , I mostly just set boundaries and enforce them. So, if my daughter throws her toys, I’ll ask her to stop, perhaps hand her a ball and say, “throw this ball instead.” Most of the time that works. But ye know, sometimes she’ll go back to the toy and throw it again. And again, I’ll ask her not to. If she keeps going back to it, I’m thinking it’s one of two things; she is trying to connect with me, or she really likes how that toy falls, sounds, looks when thrown.

If it’s the first one I will empathise with her “you really want to throw the toy, but I can’t let you.” This will probably cause her to have a tantrum. She’ll lie down on the floor and flail around for a few seconds. I stay close, acknowledge her frustration and let her know that I love her. When she’s ready she gets up and we usually hug it out. Then we go off and do some nice activity together – maybe a nice walk with our dog, a game of hide and seek or something like that.

If she’s throwing the toy because she likes how it sounds, I’ll go down the consequence route. You’ve probably heard talk of natural consequences; which are the preferred course for those using respectful parenting methods. This is because they are directly related to the behaviour being displayed. So, the natural consequence of throwing a toy would be that the toy breaks. Or that it breaks something that it is thrown at. Of course, while natural consequences are great learning experiences, they might mean you end up with a house full of broken toys. Hence why I usually go the logical consequence route instead; I tell her that if she throws it again, I will have to put the toy away. And when she throws it again that’s what I do. It’s not done as a punishment; it’s just matters of fact “You can’t stop throwing the toy so I’m putting it away.” If either a natural or a logical consequence leads to a tantrum or explosion of feelings, I would follow up as above.

Do you have any questions about positive discipline or consequences? Please ask...

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