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View Full Version : the natural-to-logical consequences continuum


Katherine
06-27-2007, 08:23 AM
Can we talk a little more about this?

some good points were touched on in this thread:

http://www.gentlechristianmothers.com/mb/index.php?topic=117853.0

like the difference between cause-and-effect and logical consequences, which I think assume the child will internalize a lesson and be able to predict events and apply the less to a future situation. :think but I sort of need to think through it in a bit more detail. :shifty

I sometimes get the impression from our discussions that logical consequences are "off limits" until that magical age/stage where you see your child using logic (or when he's "old enough") and then suddenly they're fine. :scratch Maybe that IS what's being said... or maybe there's more of a gradual transition that just not fleshed out each time we talk about it. :think :scratch Prior to the age of logic, everything is supposed to be varying degrees of natural consequences--which by definition must happen without any implementation from the parent.

Can we clarify the continuum... the process.... a little more? How, exactly, do you distinguish between cause-and-effect and an imposed consequence? The line seems a little blurry to me at the moment. :O Can you flesh out the "ramp up" to using logical consequences, for those of us who have trouble picturing it? (or is it really just a point-in-time thing when you can start using them)

Joanne mentioned once (a while back) that her children go through a progression with experiencing logical consequences... I wish I could remember her exact quote, but I understood it as: none in infancy--> a hint in the preschool years --> light use in pre-logic age --> full understanding when the age of logic sets in.

The Tickle Momster
06-27-2007, 08:30 AM
:popcorn

SouthPaw
06-27-2007, 08:34 AM
awww, you linked to my thread! :O

:popcorn

Katherine
06-27-2007, 09:40 AM
:giggle Yeah, DixieKitten... I've been rolling this around in my head lately, but I didn't want to hijack the other thread. ;)

Katherine
06-27-2007, 03:34 PM
an example might help...

Today we went to McDonald's playland. It was a treat cause we haven't been in quite a while. 15 min. in the boys got into an altercation up in the tubes and C. bit L...HARD. He had a clear set of teethmarks and it the skin was abraded. I was pretty shocked, tbh... it's not that they don't have their squabbles, but C. doesn't bite unless he's *really* worked up about something. L. came out and I checked him, comforted him, etc. C. came out and sat for a few minutes then said he was sorry. I told him he couldn't go back up in the tubesat all today. He was sad and disappointed, and kept looking at me mournfully... asked again a couple of times to see if I'd changed my mind... but he didn't really fight me on it--which also surprised me. :O :giggle :shrug :scratch

SO:

Was that cause and effect? or a logical consequence?

L. kept asking for C. to come back in with him and I explained it as: "I won't let C. go and play where I can't see him unless I know I can trust him to stay in his own space and respect other people's bodies. He didn't do that today so he has to stay out." and that sounds very cause-and-effect....

but I always used the phrase "you lost the privilege of playing in the tubes" to C.--which sounds very logical consequence.

And I could easily frame my response as either. :shrug :scratch

Amber
06-27-2007, 04:04 PM
One thing that I have encountered in talking about logical consequences etc, is that many people think that any sort of consequence (cause/effect, logical or natural) are pretty much all the same thing and they get easily confused with being punitive. Does that sentence acutally maek sence outside of my head :giggle My dh thinks that taking putting up a toy that is being thrown (after a warning etc) is a punsihment...I think it is just protecting myself from have hard projectiles being chucked at my head.

I think the example you gave is more of the cause and effect relationship. Oh, and I think you handled the situation well.

ellies mom
06-27-2007, 05:25 PM
I think semantics get involved which makes it kind of confusing to have these conversations. See in my world, regarding my 3.5 yo DD, a logical consequence is what happens when I can't or won't allow the natural consequence to occur. It is a consequence that is logical to the situation. So putting away her toy after she throws it would be a logical consequence. Making the child wash the dishes or not letting her watch TV are not logical because they aren't related. And spanking her or putting her into timeout would be punishment because it goes the "extra step" So to me, at this point a logical consequence and "cause and effect" are very similar. I'm sure as DD gets older, my interpretation of "logical" will change. So I don't automatically view a logical consequence as bad.

In your example from McDonalds, I'm going to go with the "cause and effect" end of the spectrum, even if you used the words "you lost the privilege". It was still basically "you hit, you sit". And considering the circumstances, attaching an "I need to be able to see you playing" was appropriate.

Katherine
06-27-2007, 05:51 PM
ok.. so maybe ya'll can give me some examples that illustrate the difference between cause-and-effect (appropriate for pre-logic children) and a logical, related consequence (not appropriate for pre-logic children)

I'm working on the concept as a whole and I'm just not sure I know what the difference is, other than the intention or expectations of the parent. :shifty :scrat

SouthPaw
06-27-2007, 05:52 PM
ok.. so maybe ya'll can give me some examples that illustrate the difference between cause-and-effect (appropriate for pre-logic children) and a logical, related consequence (not appropriate for pre-logic children)

I'm working on the concept as a whole and I'm just not sure I know what the difference is, other than the intention or expectations of the parent. :shifty :scrat


i thought that WAS the difference :O

Katherine
06-27-2007, 06:12 PM
i thought that WAS the difference

wellll... :scratch Maybe it is.. ? :doh I'm truly asking... trying to sort it out in my own mind. :shifty

I think semantics get involved which makes it kind of confusing to have these conversations. See in my world, regarding my 3.5 yo DD, a logical consequence is what happens when I can't or won't allow the natural consequence to occur. It is a consequence that is logical to the situation. So putting away her toy after she throws it would be a logical consequence. Making the child wash the dishes or not letting her watch TV are not logical because they aren't related. And spanking her or putting her into timeout would be punishment because it goes the "extra step" So to me, at this point a logical consequence and "cause and effect" are very similar. I'm sure as DD gets older, my interpretation of "logical" will change. So I don't automatically view a logical consequence as bad.

I do understand what you're saying... I'm trying to grasp whether it is *ALL* a matter of semantics, or if there is some crucial element that distinguishes appropriate cause-and-effect responses to a pre-logic child from inappropriate logical consequences to a pre-logic child.

Not allowing a natural consequence to happen is what I consider blocking natural consequences or protecting something/one. :think That's different from generating an "effect" as a disciplinary response to a child's behavioral "cause." :think :scratch

(still mulling... thanks for the responses and I'm continuing to read/think)

SouthPaw
06-27-2007, 06:13 PM
i get what youre saying now. ill be back. feeding baby applesauce at keyboard :giggle

ellies mom
06-27-2007, 06:45 PM
i thought that WAS the difference

wellll... :scratch Maybe it is.. ? :doh I'm truly asking... trying to sort it out in my own mind. :shifty

I think semantics get involved which makes it kind of confusing to have these conversations. See in my world, regarding my 3.5 yo DD, a logical consequence is what happens when I can't or won't allow the natural consequence to occur. It is a consequence that is logical to the situation. So putting away her toy after she throws it would be a logical consequence. Making the child wash the dishes or not letting her watch TV are not logical because they aren't related. And spanking her or putting her into timeout would be punishment because it goes the "extra step" So to me, at this point a logical consequence and "cause and effect" are very similar. I'm sure as DD gets older, my interpretation of "logical" will change. So I don't automatically view a logical consequence as bad.

I do understand what you're saying... I'm trying to grasp whether it is *ALL* a matter of semantics, or if there is some crucial element that distinguishes appropriate cause-and-effect responses to a pre-logic child from inappropriate logical consequences to a pre-logic child.

Not allowing a natural consequence to happen is what I consider blocking natural consequences or protecting something/one. :think That's different from generating an "effect" as a disciplinary response to a child's behavioral "cause." :think :scratch

(still mulling... thanks for the responses and I'm continuing to read/think)

OK let's see...

For pre-logic children, cause and effect and logical consequences should be the same. If a pre-logic child needs "cause and effect" consequences than a consequence that is not related is not logical, and is most likely inappropriate.

If Ellie colours on the wall, she helps me clean the wall and we put away the crayons and move on to something else. It is related and appropriate. She can make the connection between "I colour on the walls means I can't colour". Now say Ellie coloured on the walls and I told her she had to turn off the TV for the night. It is unrelated. There is no cause and effect. It would be an inappropriate logical consequence for a pre-logic child because they aren't going to make the connection. Now say it was an older child capable of a basic level of logic, it might be appropriate. It is still unrelated but the child can make the connection.

Ok, I need to come back to this, a certain pre-logic child is convinced she is going to starve and I can't think.

Katherine
06-27-2007, 07:23 PM
She can make the connection between "I colour on the walls means I can't colour".

ok.. this is where I see disagreement. I know you were speaking specifically for *your* child, but as a general concept, many toddlers, 2yos, and even older are *not* (according to some) developmentally capable of making that connection. They may not have the recall memory to pull up that previous sequence of events... they may not be able to think cognitively enough to predict that the same thing will happen again... and they may not have the impulse control to stop themselves even if they *could* do those first two things. :shrug

As for the issue of a consequence being related... :think let me see if I can articulate what I'm thinking here... a consequence must be related in order to truly BE logical. But that doesn't speak to the issue of whether related, logical consequences are appropriate and effective for pre-logic children.

You said earlier there is very little difference between cause/effect and logical consequences, and indeed that is where I keep going around in mental circles--they seem like the same approach (age-modulated, of course) with different labels and intentions. :scratch The reason I am experiencing confusion is because I've always understood "logical consequences" as being considered punitive (under the GBD umbrella, at least) when they are used before around age 8. :scratch

SouthPaw
06-27-2007, 07:25 PM
dangit it's all mixing around in my head but it's not words yet. i'm percolating. there's something to this and it's important but i can't quite put my finger on it.

Katherine
06-27-2007, 07:29 PM
I've got time. ;) :giggle Keep percolating, girl!!

(and completely off topic... anybody remember REAL perclating coffee pots? :heart My Papa wouldn't drink coffee any other way, and I remember waking up early in the morning to the aroma of coffee and the gentle plop-plopping of the percolator... ahhhh )

SouthPaw
06-27-2007, 09:11 PM
it's not working. I'm going to go play Morrowind :pout Think of something brilliant while I'm gone :mrgreen

something glorious
06-27-2007, 09:33 PM
:listen

ArmsOfLove
06-27-2007, 09:50 PM
the problem that I have with "logical consequences" is that, imo, if you are trying to come up with logical consequences you aren't being proactive but reactive which is already setting yourself up for failure in parenting. I prefer, with my young children, to think in terms of "limits" and good old common sense. What you did at the McDonald's biting incident is both :tu

A 3.5 yo can learn, with consistency, "If I color on the walls it means I can't color". The thing is, she doesn't necessarily understand why, can't always anticipate it (though she gets it after the fact) and can't apply this to other things--she won't have the logical thought, "If I color on the walls it means I can't color . . . sooooo . . . I wonder if that means the same thing will happen if I paint on the walls" :think :giggle At this age the things they *get* are the things that happen every single time--it's more a pattern than an understanding. in their minds "if I color on the walls it means I can't color" is on par with "nap time comes after lunch". But the idea of a "logical consequence" is to drive the lesson home and make it stick. A 3.5yo isn't learning from "driving the lesson home and making it stick", they are learning the patterns and limits.

We have lots of common sense limits. If you use something as a weapon it will go away. you hit, you sit. pee goes in the toilet or you go in a diaper. food is for eating--if you play you are done. And *my* motivation is about regulating family life more than "driving home a lesson". As family life is consistently regulated the children find their way in it and learn to accept the limits put on them. As they get older they challenge them less and embrace the standard more easily and with less help.

Katherine
06-28-2007, 06:29 AM
ok... thanks Crystal... I'm processing what you said... :think

What I'm understanding from it is this:

Young children are capable of internalizing something that *IS*--something that is a proven reality in their lives. When they experience a *consistent* response from a parent in one specific area, it has the effect of defining their reality *in that area* , and that is why it can be both effective AND age appropriate. They are *not*, however, capable of experiencing a cause-and-effect response, then internalizing the underlying principle or the reasoning that drives it, and transferring that principle to other circumstances.

Is that about right?

And, wrt to my original question about the "ramp up" or process... Am I correct in thinking that in the pre-logic years you are teaching principles (which they will be able to conceptualize later) by offering simple explanations, answering questions, illustrating, vocalizing your own thought processes, and defining their reality with boundaries, etc... so that as a child approaches the age of logic, he's already been hearing and thinking about those principles, even if he couldn't fully understand/apply them? That as he approaches the age of logic and develops more impulse control, you address problems less by defining his reality with your boundaries, and more by referring him back to the principles you've been teaching, and expecting him to govern his behavior according to those principles. ? That you gradually allow him to experience not just natural but imposed (logical and related of course) consequences when he does not govern his behavior according to those principles?

Am I also correct in thinking that this is not something that just "starts" at a magical age/stage, but a gradual process--like learning to swim--where teacher holds you up less and less as you begin to use your abilities and trust the water? That parents need to understand *general* stages of development, but use their own intuition and observations of *their* child to determine when he is ready to take a step away from simple enforcement and toward a state of self-governing?

So, another example... 5yo son loses his temper and hits 3yo son several times, by his own account. We were on the way out the door to a friend's house to see his new birthday present. I told him he would have to stay home with his Dad. I didn't want to cancel the trip for the whole family, b/c 3yo was looking forward to it, the friend had been asking us to come for days, and I had already called and told his grandmother when we would be there. (although dh had initially agreed to watch him and then sort of backed out, so I ended up having to take everybody. :/ :doh )

An objective observer might say that was an arbitrary consequence, b/c I just imposed it *in the moment* and might feel my intention was to make him "suffer" for what he'd done.

Another observer might say that I was defining his reality with my boundaries if we have a rule that "family gets your best or no one gets the rest" and I was enforcing that rule.

The net action is the same... so in some cases, does "age-appropriate and effective" really depend on the parent's intentions? :think On whether the parent's response flows from the position of upholding a known household standard versus making a point to the child?

I guess I have understood "logical consequences" as a label which applied to particular types of parental responses. (e.g. "Well that's a natural consequence b/c you didn't initiate it--that's ok." "That's a boundary, b/c you were defining something only for yourself--that's ok" "That's a logical consequence, b/c you made it happen in response to a bad behavior--that's not ok" ) That's obviously an over-simplified and limiting way to parent, which is why I've been feeling frustrated and confused by it. :O

I'm thinking that it's not really about how we define "logical consequences" versus other kinds of consequences (although I understand how learning the distinction is helpful and necessary at certain stages of the parenting process) :yes Allowing natural consequences can be punitive if it's done inappropriately--if it is not guided by an understanding of childhood development; if it flows from a place of frustration, immaturity, or vindictiveness; if it is more than the child can handle. Personal boundaries can be harsh and unhealthy if they are set in selfishness, anger, or without consideration for the needs of others. So it's not about logical vs. natural vs. cause-and-effect.... :think

It's more about... <insert summary statement>

:lol It's a cliff-hanger post! ROTFL

ok.. I'm gonna have to think about how to encapsulate what it *is* about in my own words... and baby just woke up, so I'm done for now.. but I'll be back. ;)

something glorious
06-28-2007, 06:34 AM
paula,

you are asking some really great questions....giving me good stuff to chew on, and articulating some of the things i've wondered as well.....thanks, mama friend :hug

lauren

canadiyank
06-28-2007, 12:59 PM
:popcorn

ArmsOfLove
06-28-2007, 01:03 PM
I'm going to wait for your "summary" post because I'm excited to be blinded by the lightbulb--to everything you have said in that last post . . . an emphatic :yes You have got it!!!

Katherine
06-28-2007, 04:25 PM
Well, this is probably going to be anti-climatic then... :giggle b/c it's been said before and it's pretty simplistic. I've even said similar things before, and Joanne has a very eloquent sticky that hits on it... I just hadn't really understood how to superimpose this idea onto the nature vs. logical consequences discussions.

I think the summary is:

Good parenting isn't about using the "right" tool. It's about how you wield your chosen tools, and which goals/intentions are driving your actions.

The "how" must be done in a way that respects, models, protects and enables... a way that reflects the likeness of Christ, that honors the image of God in both parent and child, that accounts for the child's developmental abilities and maturity and factors in special circumstances or inherent limitations.

The goals and intentions should be centered around discipling, nurturing, comforting, teaching age appropriate lessons (when possible), and building connected, trusting relationships. (Controlling outward behaviors or gaining approval from others are goals that will inevitably, IMO, require us to depart from the description of "how" that I listed above)

You could take out the word "Good..." and substitute many other descriptors, and it would still hold true.


Gentle/positive/attached parenting isn't about using the "right" tools. It's about how you wield your chosen tools and which goals/intentions are driving your actions. There are certain tools that *cannot* be used in a way that supports the goals of this paradigm, and those are disqualified based on their failure to fit in with the big picture.

Punitive/controlling/detached parenting isn't about using the "wrong" tools. It's about how you wield your chosen tools and which goals/intentions are driving your actions. Even the most wonderful ideas and techniques can be contaminated by the goals and motivations of the parent using them, and can do great harm.

With specific reference to the cause-and-effect versus logical consequence discussion:

A pre-logic child can internalize and respond to what *is* based on a parent's consistent response to particular stimuli. This is why punitive parenting produces the desired behavorial results for many families. Using cause-and-effect responses with a pre-logic child is appropriate when it is used as a way to define the child's reality, and applied with the age-appropriate level of expectation (e.g. knowledge that repetition and consistency are necessary and normal.... no expectationis that the child will absorb a principle and apply it to future situations or different circumstances) Or in other words.... THey are appropriate when the goal is to aclimate a child to what will be reality in a certain family or situation, or when they flow from a principle that is taught alongside the cause-and-effect AND when the "how" respects, models, protects, and enables.

Using cause-and-effect responses with a pre-logic child is not appropriate when it is used to drive home a point, to make the child feel "sorry" or the parent feel "in charge". They are not appropriate when unrealistic expectations are attached to them. They are not appropriate when they are used as a tool to elicit behavior modification.

or as I said earlier:

Young children are capable of internalizing something that *IS*--something that is a proven reality in their lives. When they experience a *consistent* response from a parent in one specific area, it has the effect of defining their reality *in that area* , and that is why it can be both effective AND age appropriate. They are *not*, however, capable of experiencing a cause-and-effect response, then internalizing the underlying principle or the reasoning that drives it, and transferring that principle to other circumstances.

Is that about it? Anything I'm still missing... ?

ArmsOfLove
06-28-2007, 06:06 PM
You've got it :clap

Amber
06-28-2007, 06:16 PM
Palil, I love the way you broke that down. Do you mind if I print it off to let my dh read it. I think it explains what I have been try to tell him much better than my muddled brain has been able to get across :shifty

ArmsOfLove
06-28-2007, 06:21 PM
and may we sticky this???

Katherine
06-28-2007, 06:23 PM
yes and yes. :lol

only took me 4 years to figure it out. :giggle