List of Natural Consequences Quick Reference Guide? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 06-17-2007, 10:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Does anyone know of a 'list' of Natural Consequences? I'm trying to implement these into our parenting style as ds is 5.5 and yes (please don't flame me) we use time outs (very rarely) for inappropriate behaviour at times but to me sometimes it just doesn't seem to be very natural-consequence-like, KWIM?

If ds has someone over and behaves inappropriately to me the natural consquence would be to separate the two for a time for ds to calm down. But in other cases it just doesn't seem to make sense - like a time out for yelling at his father or myself. I'm not trying to add to the post about time outs - I'm just saying that is what we use at times but lately as his behaviour (all age appropriate) has different challenges nowadays this doesn't seem like a natural consequence to me.

The issues we have been having:

~ 'Refusing' to go to bed or making getting up the stairs take much much longer than it should
~ Talking back to myself and dh
~ Inappropriate language after a reminder
~ Rude behaviour
~ Ignoring us and going right ahead and doing what we've told him not to (i.e. playing on the arms of chairs, scaling the back of chairs, etc. just general horseplay that is dangerous)

I'm sure there are more and I'm actually looking for more of a 'list' describing inappropriate behaviour and a list of natural consequences to that I can have a natural consequence quick reference guide! Does such a thing exist?! Thank you!
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#2 of 17 Old 06-17-2007, 10:54 AM
 
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If you can't think of a "natural" consequence, there is no need to come up with something right away. I know not everyone is a love and logic fan, but they advocate waiting sometimes. Yelling/inappropriate language at you or your husband may be better off ignored. It's harder for to ignore, but even by responding to your ds by "punishing" it, you're still listening to him. I find yelling best extinguishes itself when TOTALLY ignored. (If you've tried the, "it sounds like you're really angry about something, maybe we should talk about it when you can speak in a voice like mine." approach) If you really feel like you need to come up with a consequence, and you've received a lot of yelling you could try later when ds requests something, "well, I'm afraid I really don't feel like XXX right now, since I've been you've been yelling at me all day, it's drained all my energy." But I would save this for extreme cases.

By the way, I have issues with my 5 year old right now with some behavior I see as "rude." Someone else posted that 5s are notoriously rude, so I think perhaps with this, discretion is the better part of valor.

I may get flamed myself for advocating Love & Logic, but the book does have good comebacks / consequences. Their version of time out gives the child more control of the situation, as in: would you please go to your room/leave this room until you can be calm like me. The onus is also on you to remain calm - not always easy in my case with a smart-mouthed 5yo!!!

You might check the book out at the library, or you can peruse the website at www.loveandlogic.com. I also like Anthony Wolf's books (can't recall specific titles right now) about the situations you've mentioned - he gives good specific things to say.
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#3 of 17 Old 06-17-2007, 11:11 AM
 
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It seems to me that by definition, a natural consequence would happen...naturally. (For eg. if you lose something, you no longer have it).

It seems to me that you are dealing with a deeper issue -- a frustrated child in some way. The only solution I can think for this is communication. Try to listen to your child, what he is telling you by his behavior, about his feelings. Try not to think of how you can "teach" him, but how you can "work with him". I would suggest reading "How to talk so kids will listen and how to listen so kids will talk."

I'm not suggested you "allow bad behavior", just that there is a reason for it, and focusing on the behavior and not the child is a short term solution.
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#4 of 17 Old 06-17-2007, 11:51 AM
 
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I am not trying to be rude, more funny and helpful so please take this with a grain of sugar.

I am going to give you a few examples of natural consequences:

Common Behaviors: Choosing a bedtime that is not agreeable to everyone, engaging in a bedtime routine that does not work for everyone

Natural consequence:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Montessorimom8 View Post
~ 'Refusing' to go to bed or making getting up the stairs take much much longer than it should
Common Behaviors: Providing inadequate opportunity for an open dialogue, providing little or no flexability for barganing.

Natural consequence:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Montessorimom8 View Post
~ Talking back to myself and dh
Common Behaviors: Giving too strong of a reaction to certain words

Natural consequence:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Montessorimom8 View Post
~ Inappropriate language after a reminder
Common behaviors: People feel like they are not respected

Natural consequence:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Montessorimom8 View Post
~ Rude behaviour
Common behaviors: Chairs which are known to be irresistable are left out, behavior guidelines are not agreeable to all parties.

Natural consequence:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Montessorimom8 View Post
~ Ignoring us and going right ahead and doing what we've told him not to (i.e. playing on the arms of chairs, scaling the back of chairs, etc. just general horseplay that is dangerous)

What I am trying to say is that Natural consequences aren't punnishments, they aren't going to STOP or FIX a behavior. They are going to PREVENT a situation by TEACHING. In my opinion if you are trying to STOP and FIX, you are already too late (for this incident).

Children are really good at teaching us natural consequences because they are more instinctive, impulsive, and just plain naturally reactive. We have the burden of all these life experiences and pre/ill - concieved notions about what could/would/should happen. Your child's reactions to the situation they are put in are in general more natural than your reactions because your human logical brain has had more time to overcome instinct.

Sooo, where does this put us? Well, if you look at your child's behavior as a natural consequence to their situation, you can work to change the situation and prevent the need to seek out punnishment in the first place.
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#5 of 17 Old 06-17-2007, 11:56 AM
 
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I know it wasn't meant to be funny, but that was a clever response.

The OP might be iso "logical" consequences, which are punitive but can at least be related to the offense. The first step, though, as previous posters have said, would be to really spend time talking and problem-solving with the child. This might feel like permissiveness, but creative problem-solving is an important and rare life skill that will pay off if you take the time.

Do you have more children or can you take a lot of time to do this for a while? The extra attention and respect could go a long way if you can.

Your sig, OP, is interesting. My 12 yo is still a LOT of hard work. I'd say he's the second-hardest to parent at the moment, my 3yo being hte hardest.
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#6 of 17 Old 06-17-2007, 04:58 PM
 
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I think the true natural consequence of rude behavior on his part may be hurt feelings and irritation on your part. You could simply express that to him and move on. Have you tried saying, "Hey, I don't like it when you yell at me! I hear that you want XYZ, but I want to be spoken to respectfully." Maybe you have and it's not working?

And, I have to disagree with Shaggy Daddy that kids only try out rude behavior as a result of not feeling that their voices are being heard, or that their needs are being marginalized. This is kind of a suffocating way to look at your kids, IMO. Everyone has a right to see what happens when they're rude. Everyone has a right to lose it after a long day and snap at their parents. But the parent taking the entire responsibility for that kind of behavior is unhealthy, and would create a lot of stress for your child, I would imagine, no?

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#7 of 17 Old 06-17-2007, 07:30 PM
 
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mom22girls, that was a great link! Thanks for posting it, I can see I could use a new book or 2.

for intuitive readings click here :
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#8 of 17 Old 06-17-2007, 07:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LookMommy! View Post
I'm not suggested you "allow bad behavior", just that there is a reason for it, and focusing on the behavior and not the child is a short term solution.
I have to disagree with this comment, only due to personal experience. I spent a year trying to feel out why my ds was constantly acting out, doing things he shouldn't be doing, etc. Turned out he was just seeking firm boundaries. Once I "cracked down" and, through repetition and not backing down, gave him these clear firm boundaries, he became the most joyful, pleasant child to be around. It truly was like night and day.

As for natural consequences: for me, these aren't a "list" of things but rather a creative, logical approach that is wholly unique to each situation. For example: climbing veeery slowly up the stairs, taking ten minutes to brush teeth, etc. When it is time to read our three stories, I will very calmly and firmly say: "S, you were taking so long to do x, y and z that we only have time for two of our stories tonight." Sure, there might be whining and tantruming, but I try to stay firm and loving. This sort of thing usually nips the behavior in the bud.
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#9 of 17 Old 06-17-2007, 07:41 PM
 
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Also, as my ds is 5 and my dd is 7, I let it be known that anything beyond the necessity of living is a privilege, not a right. I know this sounds harsh, but really, when a child is acting rude and spoiled, I don't want to take a drive in a car with them to go to that event/party/whatever. It's basic human courtesy that when you drive people away, they don't do those kinds of things for you. This has worked quite well. The key is to be the parent, and not argue/raise your voice/give any sort of harsh reaction. It should just be another fact of life: do x, you get/don't get y. So simple!
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#10 of 17 Old 06-17-2007, 09:19 PM
 
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Typically, if I can't think of an obvious consequence, then I take that as a sign that I'm approaching the problem from the wrong angel. Its not an appropriate time to impose a consequence.

Quote:
~ 'Refusing' to go to bed or making getting up the stairs take much much longer than it should
I ask myself what it is I need -- why I am becoming agitated with his pace. Do I need space? Time to myself? Do I need more help from my spouse?

What is it that he needs? Does he need some quiet wind-down time alone in his room, playing quietly? Does he need to be left to manage his own routine? Does he need some special time with a parent? Does he need to have a more "nice" activities built into his routine, so that he feels motivated to get started? Does he need a piggy back ride up the steps?

Quote:
~ Talking back to myself and dh
Is there a way to reframe his comments? What is he trying to tell you? Is he trying to make himself heard? Does *he* feel pushed around verbally? Does he need to coached, to reword his statements or soften his tone, so that its easier for you to listen to him?

Quote:
~ Inappropriate language after a reminder
Like what? Is he swearing at you or something? Oh my!

How many times do you "remind him" about things? In what way do you remind him?

Quote:
~ Rude behaviour
Again, like what? Picking his nose in public?

Quote:
~ Ignoring us and going right ahead and doing what we've told him not to (i.e. playing on the arms of chairs, scaling the back of chairs, etc. just general horseplay that is dangerous)
Does he have an outlet for this? Do you provide enough time and space for physical play? From my experience -- 5 yo. boys need 2-3 hours a day of pretty intense physical play. Can you redirect him from the back of the chairs to --- something more appropriate that meets the same need?

Honestly, after typing all that out, and thinking hard about what you've posted -- all of this sounds like typical childish behavior. What I would expect. What we signed on for. Normal and part of the job.
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#11 of 17 Old 06-17-2007, 09:43 PM
 
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I agree w/ mamaduck that it is all normal behavior, but I'm not sure that just knowing that is helpful -- we all still struggle with how to respond.

I don't have ideas for all of them, and I'm certainly no GD princess: , but...

In my house, refusing to come upstairs, or generally dragging heels/being difficult about the downstairs part of the bedtime routine usually means that that child doesn't get to choose a book, having wasted his/her book time. Continuing to carry on and be disruptive means you don't get to be in the room to listen to the books the other kids picked out either, since I can't read when there is chaos around me. If everyone is really wild, it also often means that there are no lullabies sung by mommy, b/c I really *am* too exhausted and pissed off to do it. And, in line with what shaggydaddy was saying, a bad bedtime *also* means that I re-evaluate the next day's plans -- add a nap, start bedtime earlier, put the challenging kid to bed first, ahead of the other two (I have 3, who all share a room), so they can 1, get extra 1:1 attention at bedtime and 2, not be disruptive to the others' bedtime routine, and 3, get some needed extra sleep!

Talking back -- it depends -- if it is really not up for discussion, I don't engage, just repeat what I'm asking (eg, pick up your dirty shirt and put it in the laundry basket), and remind that I'll be able to listen to him/her after s/he listens to me. If it is something more complex/subjective, I try to hear my kids out, or at least offer empathy (I know this really isn't the plan you'd like, but right now, it needs to be just my decision. We can talk about doing something differently another time.)

Rude stuff -- I have zones of comfort -- potty talk i'm pretty okay with, but not while eating. I offer one reminder, then ask the child to leave the table (and the room, actually, so as not to wind up the others). My dd is a screamer, and just LOUD in general -- she knows if she is not using her inside voice, I'll give one reminder and then pick her up and plunk her out in the yard.

I hope this was somewhat helpful. It turned into much more of a ramble than I intended!
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#12 of 17 Old 06-18-2007, 01:51 AM
 
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As someone else pointed out, I think you're looking for 'logical consequences' rather than 'natural ones'. Natural consequences happen naturally. Logical consequences are related to the thing that happens, but are enforced by the parent.

Examples:
Natural consequence: Dd didn't want to wear shoes at the park today. She cut her foot.

Logical consequence: Dd doesn't want to wear her shoes the next time we go to the park. Since I know she cut her foot the last time, and I'm really not OK with repeated cuts on who knows what from the park, she needs to wear shoes. So, she has to sit on the bench with me (logical consequence) or keep her shoes on. It's related to the issue (I need to keep her foot safe).

For your going to be refusals -
we read stories in their room after their teeth are brushed and the entire bedtime routine is done. If they take too long, we have less time for stories. That's a logical consequence.

Talking back: I think I might need an example of what this is. If we ask ds (or dd) to do something and they say "no!" or "I don't want to" I usually validate the feeling "I know you don't want to help clean up." and then repeat my request "Please pick up your sandals." If they're rude (OK ds, dd is too little yet), I simply say "I don't like to help you when you're rude. Please ask me politely." or I ask them to go to another room. Rudeness in all forms means I don't want to be around you.

Ignoring means either the layout needs to change, my standards need to change (so why isn't it OK to play on the arms of the chair? - in our house i'ts OK on one end, but not the other, because dh's computer is stored on the other), or that I need to stop what I'm doing and pay some attention to my kids and get them involved in another activity.

I think the 'quick guide' is really a set of questions:
1. How can I prevent this from happening again?
2. What do I want my child to learn from this?
3. How can I make that happen?

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#13 of 17 Old 06-18-2007, 02:43 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by candiland View Post
I have to disagree with this comment, only due to personal experience. I spent a year trying to feel out why my ds was constantly acting out, doing things he shouldn't be doing, etc. Turned out he was just seeking firm boundaries. Once I "cracked down" and, through repetition and not backing down, gave him these clear firm boundaries, he became the most joyful, pleasant child to be around. It truly was like night and day.
You hit the nail on the head, candiland. At this age, I think children are really pushing limits to see where the boundaries lie. I think it has a lot to do with feeling safe and contained. I think this is where overlaying how adults process things isn't helpful to understanding the motivation for a child's behavior. They are children, not adults. Knowing the boundaries and limitations makes kids feel safe and comfortable in their surroundings. You can really see this with kids in preschool...they thrive on knowing the schedule and rituals of the day.

As to what the OP is asking, I think you are in a situation with your child where the expectations might be that he misbehaves. I know I've found myself in that space with my ds when his behavior has been challenging...I start to interact with him that almost invites his misbehavior. What has helped me a lot is to surprise him with off-the-wall responses to what he is doing or turn things into a game. I.e., dragging his heels to bed might be turned into a race of some kind or start walking like a lumbering elephant with him up the stairs. When he uses a rude voice, I might pretend that I think I hear him but I'm not sure and make a big deal out of trying to hear his sweet, lovely voice.

I dunno...I'm probably not making much sense, but I might try to take the lead and shake things up a bit with him in ways that he might find fun.
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#14 of 17 Old 06-18-2007, 02:48 AM
 
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With the consequences, I would try to not rely too heavily on them. I think it can sometimes come across as a threat...at least I've noticed that when I've used them too much. We try to reserve them for times when we really want him to make a different (the preferable) choice right then. I.e., if he takes too long with part of the bedtime routine in an effort to stall, we might say 'I hope we can get through this part quickly enough not to lose a story'...or something like that.

Maybe you can decide which behaviors you want to use consequences with and then have those ready. Then for the others (like a rude voice) you can have a pat response ready like 'please ask me in a different voice'.

Good luck...this is the tricky stuff. I had no idea how challenging the 4s and 5s would be!
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#15 of 17 Old 06-18-2007, 07:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamaduck View Post


Honestly, after typing all that out, and thinking hard about what you've posted -- all of this sounds like typical childish behavior. What I would expect. What we signed on for. Normal and part of the job.
I think I posted that myself. While I thank you for the rest of your post, I do feel your end comments trivialized my question. Yes I know it is age appropriate but that doesn't make it less of a problem. I wasn't complaining. I was asking for gd solutions for common childhood behaviour problems.
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#16 of 17 Old 06-18-2007, 07:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for your responses! I guess this is difficult for us because 95% of the time ds is very easygoing and when he does the things I described it is very much out of the blue - I'm talking like every three weeks or so! So he catches us off guard.

I've come to realize that maybe I was asking for more of a definition of natural consequences, kwim? Like if he did 'this' what would be a natural consequence for it (of course some are easy, other's harder to find a natural consequence for).

I've also realized that even though these things pop up infrequently, they are the same kinds of things that happen. So when they do happen, I'm going to make my own list of natural consequences that I can use! Thanks again.
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#17 of 17 Old 06-18-2007, 10:09 AM
 
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I apologize -- I certainly didn't mean to trivialize anything. I guess my point was just that, even if you just muddle along and simply encounter these behaviors in the moment -- he'll probably be okay.
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