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Natural Consequences: Hard to Watch your Child Deal With Them?

Posted by Emmie

It is very difficult to watch your child deal with natural consequences. First you have to make that decision NOT to rescue, but then it is hard to just sit back and watch them “suffer.” Some children need to go to the “School of hard knocks.”

My son is 21 and it seems to me that he attends the “School of hard knocks” every day. The boy CAN learn, I have seen it, but darn if it doesn’t take him making the same mistake over and over before it dawns on him. Luckily, his mistakes only affect him, not others. He alone has to suffer the consequences of his actions.

I learned a long time ago which battles to fight with him and for him. Other parents may or may not agree with the things I chose to let go. This child refused to brush his teeth. We battled for years and around age 11 I just stopped. I took him to the dentist every 6 months for cleanings and provided new toothbrushes, toothpaste and rinses prescribed by the dentist. I reminded him, but did not battle with him. I had too many other things going on to fight with him over this. Yesterday he had his first root canal. I am sure they are many more to come from not taking care of his teeth, but it is up to him now to deal with this. I was actually impressed that he understood why this happened to him. He accepts the blame himself.

This morning he overslept. He does not have a car so takes the bus to work. There was no way he would make it in time today and was very worried he’d get fired. Although he slammed doors and had a lovely tirade, not once did he ask me to take him, and I chose not to offer. I learned a long time ago not to interrupt him and try to reason with him while he is in the midst of beating himself up over yet again making the same mistake.

It was not easy going off to work, knowing my child had this issue to deal with. I made the decision not to intervene, but I meant to turn down another side street so he would not see me drive by him while he walked to the bus stop. I felt terrible when I passed him.

The “old” child would have called in and quit. He would have blamed the alarm, the bus schedule, you name it. This child, this almost grown child, although he was beating himself up, still got himself out the door to face whatever consequence his boss would hand out.


About Emmie

I am a mom of two boys, ages 16 and 22, both with ADHD, bipolar disorder, anxiety and depression. I have remarried and my husband has 2 boys, ages 13 and 16. The 13 year old lives with us, and has some behavioral problems and attachment issues. There is always something happening at our house!

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