Natural Consequences for Life

My little boy turning two has brought a whole new set of challenges. Suddenly he is becoming cheeky and doing things that he knows he shouldn't. Distraction seems to work wonders for now but soon this will not be an easy fix. All this got me thinking about how best to discipline our small person.

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My parents adopted a classic approach to discipline i.e if I did the wrong thing a privilege was taken away. This is an effective method and works in the short term. A new body of research, however, is showing us that it is only teaching children to ‘behave’ as they are afraid of what might happen if they don't. They are not learning life lessons from the event. Experts are advising we try to implement natural consequences as much as possible. For example, if a child breaks something they must help to try and fix it. This will not only prevent the behaviour occuring again but it should also reduce the tantrums and arguments. The guidelines are that the consequence has to be related eg if they draw on something they should scrub it off. The consequence shouldn't shame the child and it should be age appropriate.

‘So how effective is this method?’ I hear you ask. My answer is I have no idea and will get back to you in a year, however, as the saying goes ‘experience is the best teacher’. If a child experiences what happens when they behave this way they will be less likely to repeat the behaviour. I feel its worth a shot!