What is the best alternative to punishment?

One way to transmit discipline children is through rewards and punishments are the methods in which the majority of today’s parents were educated and most frequently used in order to achieve good behavior.

However, methods based on rewards and punishments are not exempt from numerous disadvantages. In this article we will discuss an alternative method of behavior modification, the method of logical and natural consequences.

best alternative to punishment

The aim of this method is to allow the child to learn to assume the natural consequences of a certain behavior, or logical consequences previously designed to encourage and make responsible decisions. Logical consequences allow the child to experience the reality of the social world.

Natural consequences would be those that spontaneously arise from certain behaviors (if a child refuses to eat, and then go hungry). They do not require intervention by parents. In the absence of natural consequences, or on the occasion of danger to the child, they are replaced by logical consequences that parents suggest, not as punishment but as an alternative.

Advantages over reward and punishment

  • Blames the child (not parents) for their own behavior.
  • Enables children to make decisions about what behaviors are most suitable.
  • Facilitates the understanding of their actions in a broader sense, more impersonal and more social.

Differences of logical consequences and punishment

  • The punishment expresses the power of personal authority. Logical consequences recognize the rights and mutual respect.
  • The punishment, in many cases, arbitrary or unrelated to the logic of the situation. The logical consequences are closely related to inappropriate behavior.
  • The punishment may involve a trial. The logical consequences do not involve elements of personal judgment.
  • The punishment has to do with the old behavior. Logical consequences are related to the current and future behavior.
  • Punishment implies a threat and often humiliation. In the logical consequences the relationship is friendly and denotes good will of the parents.
  • The punishment demands obedience. The logical consequences allow alternatives and personal decisions.

Related: How to apply the three-step clock technique?

Basic principles

To apply the method of consequences must take into account certain principles:

  • For logical consequences are not perceived as punishment is necessary to create a climate of emotional relationships between parents and children, mutual respect and stimulation, and be willing to postpone action until relations have improved.
  • Be firm and loving: most parents are either firm or are affectionate, few are both at the same time. The voice tone should indicate the desire to be affectionate, and firmness should manifest itself in the resolution of the effective action.
  • Refrain from overprotect: it is necessary to allow that the child should experience the consequences of his own decisions and to avoid assuming responsibilities that logically belong to the son.
  • Be consistent: acting, where possible, always with the same criterion.
  • Separating the fact who do it: if we do not respect toward the child, the result will be converted in punishment. Do not make value judgments or humiliate.
  • Stimulate independence: avoiding do what the child can do for himself.
  • To avoid feeling a pity: this is a very negative attitude. Indicates that the child, somehow, is weak and cannot solve their problems. Feeling sorry is not the same as understanding. Understanding promotes strength, while pity promotes weakness.
  • Talk less and act more, many parents fail to be effective for talking too much and the child often becomes “deafness to the father”. Talking amiably make sure children are more willing to listen.
  • Refusing to fight or surrender: set limits and let the child decide how to respond to them. Be firmly willing to follow the logical consequences arising from the decision of the child.

Steps to apply the consequences

  • Present alternatives: Which are proposed by the father who accepts the decision of the child. Decide if they will be logical or natural.
  • Open attitudes: The tone and choosing the right words are essential, should reflect respect, acceptance and goodwill.
  • Follow-up: When a result is applied must give assurance that it will comply. Not be appropriate behavior will be offered the opportunity to change the decision later.
  • Ensure that the result is logically related to inappropriate behavior.

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