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Your 6-year-old now
You've probably heard of logical consequences. This discipline tactic involves finding a punishment that suits the crime so that it becomes a learning experience. If your child doesn't pick up his toys when asked, for example, the toys are put away out of play circulation for a while.
It can be hard to come up with a fitting consequence in the heat of the moment. If you use this tactic well, though, it's much more productive than knee-jerk punishments and tirades.
Logical consequences are related to another learning tactic, natural consequences. If your child goes outside with no coat in the middle of winter, he gets cold and comes back in. That's a natural consequence. He learned his lesson – and you didn't have to say a word.
Unfortunately, you can't always wait for those natural consequences to occur. Maybe your child won't wear his bike helmet. You don't want to wait for him to be injured before you intervene. This time you need to use a logical consequence, one that fits his behavior in a logical way. "You won't wear the helmet, so you won't ride your bike today."
It's tough to issue an appropriate consequence if you're angry. Take a deep breath, maybe even remove yourself from the room for a moment if you need to. Logical consequences (which should be related to the misdeed, and reasonable) are best delivered with a respectful voice and a matter-of-fact demeanor.
Your life now
Do you have a goodbye ritual? Some families do, and they can be as welcomed by kids as the bedtime ritual. It doesn't have to be elaborate: a routine goodbye kiss or a special kind of kiss (rubbing noses, kissing each cheek), a bear hug, a secret handshake. Any of these says, "I love you and I will miss you because you're special to me."
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