Family Development - A Caregiver's Guide

Positive Parenting Tips that Promote Good Behavior in Middle Childhood

Natural and Logical Consequences

Natural and logical consequences are effective in helping children see the connection between their actions and the results of their behavior. Natural consequences include the results of a child’s actions without any adult interference. For example, the natural consequence of refusing to eat is hunger. Playing in rain puddles will result in wet socks and shoes.

Natural consequences are sometimes dangerous or impractical. For example, it would be dangerous for a child to experience the natural consequence of running into the street because the child might be hit by a car.

When natural consequences are unsafe for a child, you can use logical consequences to help the child correct behavior. Logical consequences require adult intervention. A logical consequence for an 8-year-old not studying for a test because he/she was talking on the phone with friends could be losing the privilege of talking to friends on the phone until grades improve.

The following examples also illustrate the use of logical consequences:

  • Not cleaning up toys may result in the toys being taken away for a short period.
  • Not being able to get up for school in the morning may result in an earlier bed time.
  • Lying or other unacceptable behavior may result in a child writing an essay for the parent.

Additional tips:

  • Since middle childhood brings about a better understanding of reasoning, parents may have to give more detailed explanations for expected behaviors.
  • Have your child help out with setting limits and consequences.
  • Parental listening skills and nurturing continue to be important.
  • Children in middle childhood need to feel they have done a job well to build healthy self-confidence.
  • Helping out at home gives school-age children a sense of belonging, mastery and confidence.
  • Monitor and guide children from a distance as they move into new activities on their own.
  • Interact with all children in a warm, accepting, yet firm manner at all times.
  • Structure the home environment so that children can meet school responsibilities.
  • Become involved with and support your children in activities outside of the home (i.e. school, sports teams and organized activities).
  • Help your children deal with social problems such as social isolation, aggression and bullying by talking openly with them.
  • Monitor the amount and content of television watching.