Our children can learn a lot from situations around them if we let them; however, parents don’t remember to let children learn because we are either blaming or shaming.
A natural consequence is anything that happens naturally. For instance, if you leave home late, you will be late for school.
Just like us, our children also feel bad when they make mistakes and instead of reliving the experience by saying things like “I told you so” or “you never listen”, we can use these opportunities to teach our children.
Reliving the experience makes the child focus on absorbing or defending against the blame, shame, and pain instead of learning from the experience. When children suffer the effect of natural consequences, parents are either in rescue mode or blame mode. Don’t do this.
Instead, try to show empathy and understanding of what the child is experiencing. It is bad enough that the child had to suffer the effect of the natural consequences, please don’t make it worse under the guise of teaching the child.
You can also offer to design a solution plan with your child eg. create a routine chart. It is very important and respectful to discuss this with your child if he does it again, let him learn from the natural consequences of his choices.
Imagine if a child refuses to do his homework on time every day. His mother can either decide to stay up late helping him when she ought to be resting or let him face the natural consequences that come with not doing the homework in school the next day.
She might discuss this with the child first and let him know she trusts him and is confident that he would be responsible for doing his homework on time. She can also tell him that she would no longer allow him to stay up past his bedtime to do his homework. The plan can be as simple as creating a routine chart with the time for homework included.
You might not have the patience, but it is important that you stick to your agreements with your children, so they learn that crying or complaining won’t get them out.
Letting children learn from natural consequences teaches them:
- helps them develop a sense of capability when parents don’t go into rescue mode
- not to blame others for their shortcomings or mistakes
- how to have a better relationship with people by accepting when they are wrong
- how to be a problem solver because other incidences will occur
Remember that Allah said he will only improve our situation when we turn inward, critically examine ourselves, and purify our hearts.
However, there are situations where waiting for a child to learn from natural consequences is not practical:
When a child is in danger from his actions; when someone else might get hurt from the child’s actions or when the results of children’s behaviour do not seem like a problem to them but it can affect their health.
In shaa Allah, as we implement this tool, our children will learn to make better choices as they develop and learn to take responsibility for their actions.
I hope you have learnt something. If yes, would you like to join me in the Parenting for Jannah Academy? You should join the waitlist HERE to be notified when next we are open.