5 Ways You Can Let Natural Consequences Teach

Do mornings in your house ever sound something like this?

Get dressed!
You're going to be late.
I need you to get your shoes on!
Why haven't you brushed your teeth yet?
Why are you messing around?
You have to finish your breakfast.
It's time to leave.
Here, here are some socks.
Put them on.
Don't you know where your backpack is?
I'll grab your lunch.
Now you're going to be late.

or weekends like this...

I'm not the maid around here.
I need everyone to start contributing.
I want you to pick up your toys.
Clean your room.
Put away your laundry.

Clean up your mess.

Do secretly hope that your children will be motivated to change their behavior or fix their predicament with your gentle prompts, helpful commands or by reminding them how to do things, but ultimately you give up and do it for them?

My daughter likes to take her time in the morning. She does not like to be rushed, and she needs supportive systems in place to help move her forward and complete her tasks on time.

Our mornings could (and previously did) sound something like the above scenario. My helpful reminders were not working.

Change was needed.   

How often do you override the natural consequences because you are afraid that the impact won't be effective enough or you won't be doing your job as a parent if you don't add your advice, interpretation or point out the important lessons?

How often do you interrupt the process of cause-and-effect for your own convenience (or sanity) or to prevent your kids (or yourself) from
failing at something, feeling embarrassed or experiencing the less-than-pleasant effects of their actions?

Who does this serve?

If children are ever going to internalize a set of values driven by an internal moral compass and a desire to accomplish or seek satisfaction, they must be allowed to fully experience the effects of their actions - positive and negative - without interference, evaluation, judgment or unnecessary assistance.

If you want your children to understand how their behavior impacts their own circumstance and that of others, try not to:

give commentary
(exclusions for safety/danger)
offer advice
give lectures 

attempt to fix the problem
do things for your children

It isn't always easy to allow the natural consequences to do the teaching which they are intended to do. 

We want to show.
We want to tell.
We want to demand.
We want to insist.

We also want to know if we allow the events to unfold without input, external motivators, or saving our children from their actions - is it enough to elicit change?
In this TEACHable Moments video, I share 5 ways you can allow natural consequences to teach as they were intended.

And how did I turn around the morning madness in my house?

1. I determined the root cause of the conflict (skills, stress, state of the relationship) and, together, my daughter and I created a plan which enabled her some autonomy to practice these transitions without me. 

She created a list on her dry erase board so she could keep track of her morning routine and check off the tasks as she completed them.

Eat breakfast.
Brush teeth
Get dressed
Put on socks and shoes
Get lunch + library books
Put everything in back pack.

2. I decided to make changes which empowered me to set compassionate boundaries around our individual needs.

I chose to wake up earlier than everyone to set my intentions for the day, and have some quiet peaceful meditation time so that I could be emotionally present. 

I also wake my daughter early enough so that neither of us feels rushed in the morning. 

3. We connect in the morning by having a leisurely breakfast as we prepare ourselves for the day. 

It's not always easy or perfect, and growth is not a straight line. This is what my family needed to effectively manage the mornings. Your family may do it differently.  

Do you find it challenging not to demand or do things for your kids? How hard is it for you to allow your children to feel the natural consequences of their actions?

I'd love to know what strategies help you let go and trust in the natural consequences. After you watch the video, share your story in the comments below.   

Have a great week!


LIKE what you see? SHARE it with someone you LOVE!
If you don't see the comments, try switching from mobile to desktop view.

About Lori

Order Your Cards Today!

Order Your Cards Today!
Conscious Communication Cards - Kickstarter Rewards Extended thru 10/16