External and Natural Consequences
Because your child spends time outside the family system, there are external rules that he or she must follow as well. There are social laws and school regulations, for example, and when they are violated, official authorities may apply punitive consequences such as arresting a teenager for public misbehavior or requiring a child to serve detention for skipping school. These are external consequences applied by outside authorities in punishment for violating social or school rules.
There are also natural consequences that arise when a child's choice leads to an unintended outcome that punishes the original decision that was made. A thoughtless or careless decision can lead to a punitive outcome.
Thus, a wallet carelessly left out in the locker room at school is missing after athletic practice. No driving the car now until the driver's license is replaced. The adolescent has been taught a lesson on taking care of personal belongings.
As a general rule, don't double punish misbehavior when your child has already suffered external consequences enforced by other authorities or has experienced adverse natural consequences. Instead, sympathetically help your child learn from what occurred.
Of course, there are exceptions to the general rule of not double punishing when external or natural negative consequences have already occurred. For example, if your adolescent gets charged with a DWI (driving while intoxicated), you certainly want the boy or girl to experience whatever legal, educational, and community service consequences apply.
In addition, however, you may also want to take away or restrict driving privileges until your child can demonstrate that he or she can be more responsible about using the car. In this case, the external consequence is not punishment enough. At home, there are three kinds of punishment parents can use that have different kinds of corrective power: isolation, deprivation, and reparation.