Natural Consequence "Parenting"

Actions have consequences. Not cooking dinner results in not eating, or having to eat out unplanned, blowing your budget. Not doing laundry results in running out of clean clothes. Not going to bed results in being exhausted the next day. Not that I would have first experience with any of those things. ;) A wise person picks up from their consequences and learns better for next time.

There is a parenting movement out there that basically says “use natural consequences” to teach children. Apparently active training and discipline is unnecessary because there will be consequences to a kid disobeying. They refuse to put on their coat, they are cold outside. They eat too many sweets, they have a stomach ache.

My thoughts on that? Hogwash. Balderdash. Insanity. 

I’m fine with using “natural consequences” as a training tool to an extent, but it is very foolish, and not in line with biblical mandates or parenting, to use them as the way to teach children. We are told to actively train up our children. To love, and discipline them. To instruct and teach them. To not leave them to their own devices. Children should not be left to raise themselves. I love my kids and think they are sweet, special, and smart but I also think they are YOUNG, that they need someone to guide them.

Ephesians 6:4 “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” 

Prov. 3:12: “For whom the LORD loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights.”  

Prov. 13:24: “He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly.” 

Prov. 19:18: “Chasten your son while there is hope, and do no set your heart on his destruction.” 

Prov. 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Prov. 22:15: “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction will drive it far from him.”

I am not disagreeing that there are natural consequences to actions, or that kids should at least get a taste of them, I’m debating whether or not they should be what teaches our children. It’s because there are natural consequences I chose to actively train up my children! Relying on natural consequences is the opposite of training up. Left to their own devices kids will eventually learn the consequences of their actions, but when? That is the opposite of what I want for these kids I love.

Not putting on their coat, means they are cold. Fine, but…

Eating too many sweets, upsets their stomach- or could lead to building their taste buds to being dependent on too many sweets and starts a lifelong struggle with health and weight. 

Staying up too late results in being tired the next day- and can lead to a lifelong habit of just that. Sure there are consequences, but what if they do not see them quickly enough? 

It is because I do not want my kids to see the truly natural consequence of their ways, ultimately the wage of death, that I train my kids.

Be willing to be the parent, discipling your kid. Natural consequences are extreme! A more apparent, and very loving, discipline and teaching is a loving, and selfless, alternative. One we are instructed to use.

The natural consequences of ultimately sin is death, eternal separation from God. You are called to be the parent and to train up your kid, NOT LET THEM DO IT ON THEIR OWN!


  1. Debra, this is an EXCELLENT article! I agree 100%.
    “Be willing to be the parent, discipling your kid.” I think this is where most parents ere. They’re afraid to be the parent…they’d rather be the “friend.” They don’t want their children to not like them….hogwash again. My parents disciplined me in a good, Biblical manner and now we are very close. Did I get upset with them when I was young? Yep. But now I appreciate their love and guidance. :-)

    • Thank you Stacy! I actually forgot I had this scheduled, which is good. I lose sleep over anything with the word “parent” in it. Parenting is so controversial.

    • Oh, maybe I should write an article on the difference between peer and authority…

  2. Good article! I tell my children there are consequences to all actions. When appropriate there is a set punishment for a negative action. God’s ways are always better than the alternative way the world trys to push on us parents. I like how you remind us that the wages of sin is death. That is one consequence I do NOT wish for my children no matter how naughty they me behaving. I pray often that God guides and teaches me so I can impress His commands on their hearts.

  3. AMEN! So true, great article!

  4. I think you are wrong wrong WRONG! I think we should raise our children with natural consequences!! If they choose to disobey, NATURALLY I am going to spank their booty!

    • Ok! that was just a joke :) I think that you should use many forms of parenting, there is a time and place for spanking, a nice long explanation, a “I’m the parent and I make the decisions”, but also there is also room for natural consequences! One example would be food, I have decided to not fight food battles, and allow natural consequences, should my children chose to not eat the food I have prepared them, then they will go hungry, some days until snack and some until the next meal time. We even have to serve our 2 year old a 2 course meal, she get a small serving of what ever vegetable I have prepared and when she chooses to eat that she is then served the rest of her meal!

  5. It is very hard to be around a child that is not disciplined. They are rude and inconsiderate.