Intervention Strategy #3: Use Natural or Logical Consequences

What would happen naturally if an adult did NOT intervene and take responsibility, but hold child responsible for actions? “No piggy backing allowed,” says author Dr. Jane Nelson. “Adults piggyback when they lecture, scold, say, ‘I told you so,’ or do anything that adds more blame, shame, or pain than the child might experience naturally from the experience.”1

Though natural consequences teach a child responsibility, there are three situations when you don’t want to use natural consequences according to Dr. Nelson. “When a child is in danger. Adults cannot allow a child to experience the natural consequences of playing in the street, for example. When natural consequences interfere with the rights of others. When the results of children’s behavior do not seem like a problem to them and the natural consequences will adversely affect their health and well-being.”1

LCSW Amy Morin says, “Natural consequences should be used to teach children to make better choices in the future, not to make them suffer for the mistakes they already made. So, before you allow natural consequences to happen, make sure your child will be able to safely learn a life lesson.”2



  1. Nelsen, Dr. Jane. Natural Consequences.
  2. Morin, LCSW Amy. Using Natural Consequences as a Discipline Strategy.
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