Natural & Logical Consequences

Natural and Logical consequences are effective methods of discipline because they allow children to make their own choices and experience the consequences of their choices either naturally or logically. The lessons they learn as a result of these consequences are more powerful than lectures, criticisms or meaningless punishments.

Natural Consequences are the experiences which follow naturally from what a child chooses to do or not to do.


  • The child who refuses to eat lunch, naturally gets hungry.
  • The natural consequence of leaving your coat out in the rain is a wet coat.

Logical Consequences are useful when natural consequences do not follow a child’s misbehaviour. These consequences must be meaningful and logically connected to the misbehaviour.


  • Child causes disturbance on shopping trip. A logical consequence would be for the parent and child to leave the store, or the child will not be taken on the next shopping trip.
  • Child doesn’t come to meal when called. A logical consequence would be not to feed again until regular snacktime or next meal. With preschooler, set timer. If not at table when timer goes off, not served.

Learning how to handle responsibility usually occurs through the opportunity to make choices and decisions. Parents can help children make appropriate choices by showing them that misbehaviour is one of the choices that brings with it logical consequences.

Examples of How to Give Choices

Either-Or Choices
“Jeff, either you play quietly here, or you may go to your room; it is your choice.” Going to his room is the logical consequence of not playing quietly.

When-Then Choices
“Susan, when you have made your bed, then you may go out and play.” The logical consequence of not making her bed, is to lose the privilege of playing outside.

Logical consequences are not the same as punishment. When a child is punished, it is usually done in an angry and rigid manner, leaving the child feeling guilty, confused, rebellious and revengeful.

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