A natural consequence is also an effective way of punishment where your child can feel the after affect of his behavior. For example, despite of your advice, if your child refuses to bring his favorite toy from the garden before the rain started, tell him: “since you left your toy outside in the rain, it’s soaked. Now you will have to find something else to sleep with tonight.
Experiencing cause and effect first hand teaches children to make realistic assessments of their actions. Remember that it is always important for you to link between the two and to explain as clearly and simply as possible the rationale behind the punishment they receive. When using the method of natural consequences, do not let your anger degenerate into vindictiveness.
An extension of natural consequence is the much used punishment, withdrawal of privileges. The point, of course, is to take away a privilege, a favorite activity, a toy or a game for a specific period. The punishment is easy enough to apply and teaches its lesson well. If, after being warned about the dangers, your youngster still darts into the street when playing with his friends, you will have good reason to order him inside and tell him that he must play alone for half an hour.
Or if he refuses to stop racing his tricycle down a steep and dangerous hill, locking up the tricycle in the garage for an afternoon will show him not only that you mean business, but that he must pay a penalty for ignoring you. When that lesson is learned, your child will think twice about repeating the behavior.
Since they are based on logic, both the removal of privilege and natural consequences require that you be fair and consistent in your application of punishment. Make sure that punishments always fit the circumstances and it lasts no longer than necessary. Extending a prohibition unnecessarily may only fuel your youngster’s anger with you and prolong the behavior you want to change.
Moreover, by stretching out the punishment, you are depriving yourself of an opportunity to teach your child the positive behavior he can begin to practice after the punishment is over.