This is a subject that always creates a lot of debate and questions. Should you impose consequences?
Do they work? What’s a natural consequence? Aren’t natural consequences just letting my child get away with it? There isn’t a natural consequence for this behaviour? What’s a logical consequence?
Consequence & reward
Many parents use the idea of consequences and rewards, it’s a standard way of parenting. It seems a logical idea. However, it teaches the child to do something for an external reward, or that an external consequence will be given for poor behaviour. This is not a connected way of parenting and doesn’t help to develop a strong, connected relationship between parent and child.
Personally, I don’t agree with imposed consequences and they are not part of the NVR approach. They don’t work for many children. They don’t help them to understand the impact of what they have done, or learn how to cope with the emotions they are feeling. Also, imposed consequences might work in the moment but are unlikely to work over the longer term.
Natural and logical consequences
In NVR we use natural and logical consequences. It can feel very strange when you start, as if you are letting your child get away with it. You are not. You are teaching them the impact of their actions and that will help them for the rest of their lives. Natural or logical consequences help them to understand what they are doing and how it affects others. It’s also less stressful on you. You don’t have to think of a suitable consequence in the heat of the moment, or find yourself issuing a ridiculous consequence (I grounded my son for life one day!)
- An imposed consequence – a child is rude so his Xbox is removed. There’s no link between those actions, the parent has imposed them.
- A natural consequence – if a child goes outside without a coat on in winter they will get cold.
- A logical consequence – if a child breaks a toy, then the toy is no longer usable. If it can be fixed the child can help fix it, or it needs to go into the bin.
A natural consequence is one that happens automatically. It’s a natural result of the behaviour, rather than being imposed. A logical consequence naturally follows on from what has happened and can be seen as being ‘fair’. This process doesn’t mean they ‘get away with it’ but teaches them the link with their actions and consequences.
This way of parenting can take a massive shift in mindset. It may seem very counter-intuitive but it is very effective. As a parent, I changed to using this approach and since implementing it, there has been a definite improvement in behaviour. I have done it alongside using all the other aspects of NVR as well so that we have built a strong, connected relationship at the same time.
If you can’t think what natural or logical consequence to use ask in my free group, there’s lots of supportive parents that would be happy to help. https://www.facebook.com/groups/connectiveparentingusingNVR/
There’s loads of resources and teachings about this in The Connective Parenting Hub (my monthly membership group). www.sarahpfisher.com/connectiveparentinghub
For more support why not join us at The Connective Parenting Conference, taking place on 29th February in Leicester. Spend the day with a group of like-minded parents and a collection of experts who can empower you to make positive changes for yourself and your children. Visit our website to find out everything you need to know about the conference and to book your tickets. https://theconnectiveparentingconference.co.uk/leicester-conference/