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Natural and Logical Consequences for Behavior

Consequences result from our actions.

  • Natural consequences are the experiences that naturally follow a choice or behavior. For example, going out in cold weather without a coat naturally leads to feeling cold.
  • Logical consequences are consequences chosen to follow behaviors that violate the acceptable behavior within a family or other group. These consequences are set up to logically follow when a person breaks family rules, values, or acceptable behaviors. For example, a young child who throws a toy may be required to take a time-out to calm down and think about his or her behavior. An older child might lose a privilege for unacceptable behavior.

Positive consequences reinforce and strengthen a behavior, while negative consequences help reduce or eliminate a behavior. Learning through experiencing consequences is much more powerful than through a lecture or punishment. Using consequences for misbehavior is an effective teaching method for dealing with behavior problems in children and teens.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Louis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics
Last Revised February 2, 2012

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