Monday, December 5, 2011

Natural Consequences... A Parents Best Friend

How many times have you stepped into a situation to try and 'save' your child from natural consequences?

The fact is, this happens ALOT!  This is a pandemic in the parenting world if you ask me. 

It's what I like to call the 'my child is perfect' syndrome.

Parents intervening at school, blaming teachers for their child's behaviour.  Going head to head with team coaches so that their kids get more play time in the game.  Even going so far as to congratulate their children when they have hurt another.

What is wrong with us?!?!?!

We can all think of at least one adult in our life who was raised with this parental attitude.  They don't  take responsibility for their own behaviour, often times they have severe addictions, mommy and daddy are still helping them out financially (with little to no appreciation I might add), they blame and expect others to do their bidding in life.  And they whine when life isn't handing them all that they desire on a silver platter.

Does this sound like the kind of adult you want your child to be?

What I have learned through the years is that life is a great teacher and motivator.  One way it does this is through natural consequences.  Natural consequences aren't about someone else stepping in and 'saving' someone from their behaviour.  It's about nature itself taking care of what isn't balanced and sending a message. 

We see it all the time as adults.  Speeders get tickets (usually) or one day experience an accident (both are natural consequences).  If  you don't pay your taxes or mortgage you lose your house (a natural consequence), if you don't pay your utilities they get shut off (a natural consequence).  If you don't show up at work you get fired (yet another natural consequence).

So how come we don't want our children to learn from natural consequences?  Because they seem too harsh?  Because we don't want to look like bad parents?  Because it might cost us money?

If children were meant to be saved from all of the 'terrible' things out in the world that could possibly happen, they would've come with a giant plastic bubble.

The child who ignores curfew will one day be spoken to by police, have his name written down and will be driven home by said police (been there done that).  If your child goes to a school dance drunk they will most likely kick him out or have the police called on them.  If your child doesn't do his/her homework or show up to class they will fail or not get into the college/university of their dreams.  If your child has unprotected sex, they will most likely (eventually) encounter a natural consequence to that as well.

As much as it is hard to step back and allow life to teach our children, it is much more rewarding to see them learning for themselves in a natural setting and to be honest forcing your child to learn a lesson YOU want him/her to learn is time consuming, stressful and does not make for a very productive relationship at all.

So next time your child refuses to learn your way.  Allow life to step in and give him the lesson he truly needs.

Give it a shot.  I'm guessing you have nothing to lose.

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