Last Updated on September 2, 2021.
Natural consequences are a great way for parents to teach their kids about the world around them. They provide an opportunity for children to make decisions and learn from their mistakes, without getting in trouble with Mom or Dad. Natural consequences are often more effective than punishments because they are usually unexpected by the child. In this blog post, we will discuss what natural consequences are when you should use them as a parent and how they can help your family!
What are natural consequences?
Natural consequences are simply the direct, immediate, and inevitable results of a person’s actions. When parents use this strategy to teach their kids about the world around them, they put children in positions where they have to make decisions on how to cope with life as it is happening.
The best part about natural consequences is that mom and dad don’t have to be the bad guy. The natural consequences play out without any involvement or intervention. The child then has no one to blame but themselves. And they are left to deal with the consequences of their decisions.
Natural Consequences vs. Logical Consequences
Unlike natural consequences, logical consequences require mom (or dad) to implement some reasonable consequence for the child when they do something wrong. For example, a logical consequence might be to take away your TV privileges instead of letting you watch another show you threw the TV remote across the room.
What are examples of natural consequences?
They are all around us! It’s what happens when you just naturally go about your day. Here are 10 natural consequences every parent should be using with their kids.
- If your child won’t wear a coat in the middle of November, let them be cold
- When your child won’t eat, let them be hungry until the next scheduled meal
- If they leave their homework in their locker overnight, let them fail that assignment.
- When playing sports, if your child breaks a rule, let them suffer the consequence handed out by the coach.
- If they refuse to take a shower, let them smell and suffer the stigma of having icky hair.
- When playing video games all day instead of studying for a test, let them fail the test.
- If they won’t get out of bed in the morning, let them miss their bus or be late for school.
- When your child is playing with something that could break (like dishes), allow it to happen so they learn how valuable those items are.
- If your child won’t clean their room, let them realize that it will only get harder the more mess piles up.
- If they don’t want to go to bed, let them stay up until and be exhausted the next morning.
How can natural consequences be used in discipline?
When parents use natural consequences to discipline their kids, they are often more effective than punishments. This is because children don’t expect the “punishment” of a natural consequence and therefore aren’t tempted to do anything about it beforehand.
Unlike punishments that usually result in power struggles with your child (especially if you’re not good at using them in the first place), these are a really easy and effective way to discipline your children!
The key is to let them figure out how they can take care of themselves, without any parental involvement or assistance.
Remember, it’s their responsibility when parents don’t intervene with punishments (and rewards). If mom and dad step in too quickly, the lesson they are trying to teach will never stick.
Tips for Using Natural Consequences with Kids
- Point out the potential consequence once, but don’t offer kids unlimited reminders
- Don’t intervene in any way. If your child asks you to, apologize and offer to help them think about ways they can remember next time.
- Natural consequences can be used for everything from forgetting to do their homework, not finishing a task, or even stealing. They’ll allow children to learn about themselves and the world around them in an always-changing way that they have full responsibility for.
- Suggest ways kids could keep themselves organize. Encourage them to be on top of their own responsibilities, like using a daily planner, setting alarms, or taking reminder notes
The Bottom Line
Natural consequences are the best teacher. When parents don’t intervene, kids are forced to take responsibility for their own actions and learn from the consequences. Use this strategy to help kids learn about themselves and the world around them.
What You Should Do Next…
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