Logical consequences are the behaviors that follow other behaviors. Logical consequences help teach children that it is to their advantage to show appropriate respectful behavior, follow the rules or change inappropriate behavior. Rewards and punishments are most effective in the long run when they are relevant to the target behavior. Logical consequences are appropriate to use will all ages. In behavioral therapy logical consequences are natural reinforcers. If you are interested in learning about behavioral therapy, you can try reading Cognitive Behavioural Therapy For Dummies.
Ways of using logical consequences with your child
1. Give privileges to your child
“when you show responsibility, you earn privileges”
You can give your child rewards when they behave appropriately. This shows your child that if they behave well, they can have what they want.
2. Take privileges from your child
“when you misuse it or abuse it, you lose it”
If your child is aloud to watch television, for example but only certain shows and you find him/her watching a show that is inappropriate, you could take the privilege of watching television away. This would be a logical consequence because the punishment is related to what the child did wrong, watching inappropriate shows.
“when you break it, you pay for it” (money, work, or fixing the broken object)
If your child plays roughly with something in the house and breaks it, you could have your child fix the broken object to fix what he/she did wrong. This helps your child not only learn that it was wrong to break the object but also the severity of their actions since it may be difficult to fix what was broken.
4. Isolation- time out- ignoring/praise
“when you are out of control, you need to be away from others to regain control and/or think about what you have done”
Here your child learns that to be with other people, he/she needs to act appropriately. If she/she does not act appropriately the logical consequence is that he/she can no longer be with others until she/he is ready to act appropriately.
5. No cooperation
“when you do not cooperate with others, they will not cooperate with you”
This is something that children will probably learn in school. If your child is not nice, others will not be nice with him/her. If your child does not cooperate with friends and play nicely, they will not want to play with him/her. This logical consequence shows children that if he/she does not behave appropriately, others will not either.
Example of using logical consequences
James likes to play video games when he gets home from school. Every evening James and his mother have the same fight. James leaves his games on the floor in front of the television and his mother yells at him to put them away. Since James never remembers to put games away when he is done playing, his mother decided to try logical consequences. If James leaves a game on the floor, his mother takes the game away for the rest of the week.
This turned out to be very successful. James continued to forget to put his games away for a few days but after the third day James did not have any of his favorite games left to play. The following week when James got all of his games back, he remembered to put them all away when he was done playing.