Monday, July 13, 2009

Natural & Logical Parenting

I am not an expert on much in this world but I certainly am having a lot of experience in parenting and I am learning useful things in the process.
One truth that has been revealed to me is how much children want to be nourished and to feel respected. They need to know that someone loves them and cares about their thoughts and feelings. They also need to learn what is appropriate behavior and what is not for any situation. It has also become obvious to me that some methods of discipline accomplish the opposite reaction for self discipline and self reliance. The method that has consistently produced outstanding results is natural and logical consequences.
While raising my 3 biological children I made several mistakes. (Most new parents do because children do not come with an explicit set of instructions.) All children are different and react to situations with their own unique set of characteristics. They need to exercise their free agency to make wrong choices and learn from their experiences. That is what natural consequences are. Once a child (or adult) learns that the consequences of good behavior are much more comfortable than the consequences for wrong choices they govern themselves and make more good choices. If you go outside in the cold and do not wear a jacket you will get cold. If you walk across the floor with muddy feet you will have to clean up the mud from the floor. It is our responsibility to point these consequences out to our children and follow through with each uncomfortable consequence no matter how much we dislike seeing our precious young ones suffering because of their choices.

Some articles I have read suggest that consequences should not be used for children under 3 years of age. I have seen them used in the baby cottage at the Home where I work for children as young as 14 months. The crazy couple who works there and takes care of 6-8 children under 6 years old has a good grasp on how this works. Those little ones will sit fairly quiet and still in church for 45 minutes without the use of food or crayons. I do not know their secrets but I will find out how they do it and include that in another post. My 16 year old girls are fairly quiet and well behaved during church because they know that we will have a family meeting after church and they want to be able to add to our discussion on what the preacher talked about and what parts they agreed or disagreed with.

I have included links to some sites that may have ideas you can use. You will have to copy and paste them into your browser because I have not learned how to attach them as links.

Please ask any questions that arise from your reading and I will furnish examples of natural and logical consequences to use in a variety of situations. Many of my best consequences have been presented by my girls when I asked them what would be a logical consequence for their bad choice.

Links to natural & logical websites.

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