If you speed, you get a ticket…

By Marissa Stephens, Parent Coach

We talk a lot about “natural consequences” at Empowering Parents, but what does it really mean?

Doesn’t it mean I’m a bad parent if I let my kid fail?

No! You’re a great parent because you’re teaching your child valuable life skills.

Parents ineffectively prepare kids for adulthood by not allowing them to face the natural consequences of their actions.

Natural consequences can best be described as the logical outcome of a decision your child makes. Failing a test because of not studying, for example. When you allow your child to face natural consequences, you do two very important things:

  1. You relieve some of the pressure that’s on you to create consequences (doesn’t that sound nice?)
  2. You help your child learn what happens when they make their own choices.

One of my favorite articles to send parents is Why You Should Let Your Child Fail: The Benefits of Natural Consequences. It explains why natural consequences are one of the best tools parents can use to teach kids how to prepare for the real world.

Of course, there will be situations where natural consequences aren’t a good fit — especially when your child’s decision poses a safety risk or is likely to have a long-term, negative effect. For help with setting consequences, we recommend following “The Alternative Response.” This extremely effective technique will help your child learn accountability and develop problem-solving skills.

Remember, we’re here to help support and guide you. You got this!


Marissa S., Empowering Parents Coach

Quote of the Week! “A speeding ticket is a natural consequence. If you go too fast, the policeman stops you and gives you a ticket. He doesn’t follow you home to make sure you don’t speed anymore. He lets you go. It’s your job to stop and take responsibility.” — James Lehman, MSW

About Marissa Stephens, Parent Coach

Marissa is a proud mom to two boys, age 12 and 8. She earned her degree in Sociology from Saint Joseph’s College of Maine and has been a 1-on-1 Coach since 2011. Prior to coming to Empowering Parents, Marissa gained experience working as the House Manager of a group home for teenage boys, as a Children’s Mental Health Case Manager, and also spent several years working on the Children’s Unit at a Psych. Hospital.

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