When You Accidently Punish Yourself:

Another Plug for Logical Consequences

Just about a month ago, I wrote a Wisdom Wednesday post about the value of using logical consequences with my children to actually affect changes in their behavior versus simply punishing them and/or giving myself a break from them. I’ve really been trying to do what I vowed to do back in August: to take a moment when my kids misbehave to think before I speak, and to use logical consequences to help them realize why their behavior upsets me. I’m not going to lie…I haven’t been 100% successful. Sometimes your four year old drops a full glass of milk, you splatter bleach on your favorite shirt, and the baby poops in the bathtub all in the space of an hour and you lose your cool. Trust me…I know.

However, I’ve found another reason to really try for well-thought out logical consequences rather than punishments with my boys: because I have had enough of accidently punishing myself.

This subject is something I’ve struggled with from the first time I worked as a substitute teacher over a decade ago. As a teacher, I could never understand the logic behind taking recess away from the kids who couldn’t sit still. Don’t kids need to move? Doesn’t the increased oxygen actually help them focus? Wouldn’t burning off a little large muscle energy calm them down? Won’t the afternoon be worse for everyone if they’re forced to sit at a desk for even longer with no break?

Well, fast forward a decade, and here I am with two children of my own. Recently, I lost my temper with my four year old. We’d had a long morning of him testing and pushing limits, and I’d had it. He loves to be outside and looks forward to it every day, and I really wanted to drive home the point that I was done with his behavior that day.  Suddenly, I heard myself say “That’s IT! You have LOST your outside time! You need to settle down!”. I wanted to stuff the words back in my mouth. What was I thinking?!? Now I’d be stuck inside with him all day with no break! I don’t know who was more upset about this punishment, him or me, but it certainly has made logical consequences seem more appealing.

Other “oops” punishments, all of which were in no way related to the crime committed, have included no play-dough (ummm…why did I take away one of the only quiet activities that will keep him busy?), no Friday movie night (taking away family time? dumb!), and no playing in the tub (again, why do I apparently hate when my kids play independently and quietly???).

Has anyone else tried to use more logical consequences with their children? Have you had success? As my son gets older, I’m finding them more and more effective. He seems to be better understanding why we have the rules we have, and I seem to be wanting to eat my words less often!

No one wants this much energy cooped up in their house all day…no one.

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