Friday, November 27, 2009

Natural Consequence Versus Punishment

As human beings, we are a part of the natural world even though some egos would like to say that we’re better than or apart from Nature. Human beings are subject to all the same laws as all other creatures, natural consequences included.

Natural consequences are those things that can’t be helped. They are scientific and subject to the same results if Jack does the experiment or if Jill does the experiment.

An experiment with gravity:
Jack and Jill went up the hill, to fetch a pail of water,
Jack fell down, broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after.

Fall at the top of a hill + gravity = Find yourself at the bottom of the hill.
Natural consequence.

Punishment is entirely a different situation. Punishment is not the natural consequence of actions. Punishment does not come from any natural law.

We can see the difference between Natural Consequence versus Punishment in this example:

If a dog failed to finish all the food, the natural consequences might be:
a) another animal might finish the food
b) carrion birds or flies would finish the food
c) the food would rot

If a child failed to clean their plate of all food provided, the natural consequence might be:
a) another person might finish the food
b) the food might go bad
c) an animal might finish the food
d) the food might be thrown away

Not a natural consequence might be one or more of the following:
e) forced to finish the food anyway
f) denied food at another time
g) spanked
h) grounded

Parental authority allows for punishment of children, but don’t let that be misconstrued with anything like the natural consequences of actions.

Threaten a dog, beat a dog, or tease a dog, and the dog will bite.
Natural consequence.

Punishment is simply the choice of the authority/punisher to inflict their will on someone under their authority. When they say to the punished, ‘it’s a natural consequence of your behavior'; the authority seeks to avoid the responsibility for their actions. Avoiding responsibility may go unpunished, but there are always natural consequences.

1 comment:

AmyMusings said...

You put into words the reason why I had to put down parenting books that talked about natural consequences and the natural consequence was mommy or daddy was going to get all over your ass for x, y or z. It just didn't jive with me but I couldn't express why as well as you have here.