Natural Consequences

The danger of natural consequences is that someone not ready to experience them and learn from them might face very real danger and repercussions from them. For example, a one year old who runs into the street faces the very real natural consequence of being hit by a car and killed.

One reason I believe God has children be born under the authority of adults is that adults possess the mental skills of logic and reason, and can reasonably evaluate a situation and determine the potential natural consequences of any given action. It’s called problem solving.

Unfortunately, this is a skill not well developed in many adults anymore-but if someone doesn’t have this skill well developed they may take action to develop it in themselves (and they would benefit from doing so). Too often, the reason an individual reaches adulthood without this skill developed is because they were controlled as a child and not allowed to experience and learn from the natural consequences of their actions. This causes someone to reach adulthood and not be prepared to make wise decisions and predict the outcomes of their actions with some accuracy.

When a parent does have well-developed problem solving skills they can evaluate a situation their child is in and predict the potential outcomes. They can also determine whether or not their child is ready to experience and learn from those natural consequences.

As already mentioned, a one year old is not ready to face the natural consequences of running into the street. This means a parent is responsible for blocking the possibility of that natural consequence-the child must be prevented from running into the street! This is NOT the child�s responsibility-the child is not able to predict the natural consequences yet and cannot be held responsible for making a wise decision in this case.

A 5 year old, however, may be ready to slip on wet cement-assuming he’s been instructed not to run on wet cement and has been warned of the potential natural consequence. The parent of the running 5 year old would be wiser to sit by and allow the natural consequence (given a reasonable expectation of safety i.e. child not running super fast on wet concrete next to a swimming pool where falling might result in head trauma and drowning).

Many parents will argue that they have allowed the natural consequences and their child has failed to learn from them. In most instances where this is the outcome, the parent has actually interfered in the lesson by employing a tactic called “piggybacking”.

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