Do Consequences exist?

I’m puzzled if consequences exist. It seems like we are just making it.

As to your first sentence, I think consequences do exist. Ask my kids.
Second sentence…I don’t understand what you’re saying. Are you saying we make up consequences? If so, that’s sure what I think as I created a ton of them while I was parenting.


Consequences exist and they come in three forms, ‘Natural, Logical, and arbitrary.’

A natural consequence can easily be understood by the following: “People who play with knives get cut.” This is a natural consequence of playing with knives. You play with them long enough and one day you are going to get cut. An automobile accident is a natural consequence of driving a car. (Fault does not matter. The fact that you are driving puts you at risk.)

When it comes to parenting, many parents do not recognize natural consequences and so they miss wonderful teaching opportunities. EXAMPLE: A child leaves his or her bike in the driveway. The parent is continually telling them to put it safely on the side of the house. One evening, a car pulls into the driveway and runs over the bike. (The parent will generally respond with anger and “I told you so.” thus missing the opportunity to teach.) "Oh well! That’s what happens when you leave your bike in the driveway. What do you plan to do about it?

Natural consequences are events that occur as a natural result of our behavior. (Surfers sometimes get attacked by sharks, and cowboys occasionally get attacked by bulls. This is the way the world is.)

Logical consequences are those consequences imposed on us by others. Using the bike analogy from above. The child leaves his or her bike in the driveway. The parent pulls him aside and tells him, “You may not leave your bike in the driveway. The next time the bike is left in the driveway, it will be locked in the garage for a week.” Having a bike is a privilege. If the child can not take care of the bike properly, it makes sense that he or she would lose the privilege.

Now here I have to make a distinction between privilege and punishment. Punishment is irrational and the results can never be predicted. It is not the same as a logical consequence. A punishment is often carried out in anger and the goal is to make the other person suffer. It’s unfortunate our justice system has not caught onto these ideas yet and is based on punishments for crimes and not logical consequences. “You do the crime, you do the time” is a perfect representation of a logical consequence.

Logical consequences are directly related to the activity in question. Again using the analogy of the bike in the driveway, A child leaves his bike in the driveway and the parent screams, “Okay, no TV for a week.” The consequence is not related and punitive. This would be an arbitrary consequence.

Getting back to the legal system, restitution is often a logical consequence. You break something, you replace it. You damage it, you fix it. This makes sense. Someone steals from a store and they are assigned community restitution, so, they clean police cars for several hours. This is arbitrary. The consequence is unrelated to the crime. The person did not damage a police car. Mopping the isles in the store for a time would make more sense. This would be logical, as it was the store damaged by the theft.

When we put people in Jail, a good way of looking at it is: 'You have the opportunity to function in a society with other people. When you take advantage of others, harm them, steal from them, or engage in some form of subversive activity, you no longer get to be in that society. It is a natural consequence of deviant behavior. (Unfortunately, this is most often treated like a punishment.)

So there are three types of consequences: naturally occurring, logically occurring, and arbitrarily occurring.

EDIT: I worked with teens years ago. Young boys, 8 to 18 years of age. The local Save-on Drugstore was a favorite target of theirs. Two or three times a year I would get a call from them. ‘Hello, does ‘X’ live at this address?’ “Yes.” 'He was caught trying to leave the Save-on with $$$ merchandise and not paying for it. We need to release him to a parent or guardian." “Okay, I’ll be right down.”

Then I loaded up all the kids, turned off my cell phone, and took them to a movie. If it was daytime, we went to the beach or a park for the day. The child at Save-on was safe. He was with security guards.

After a day at the beach, I would return home. The phone would ring. ‘Hello?’ Same story, 'He was caught trying to leave the Save-on with $$$ merchandise and not paying for it. We need to release him to a parent or guardian." Oh, well the kids are in bed now and I can’t leave the house. I’ll call a supervisor. (Never mind that I was the supervisor.) The kid sat in the security office all day long. I never went down to pick them up. At about 11 PM, a police officer would arrive with the kid in the back of the car. (Important, we were unincorporated so the sheriff’s department delivered the kids. I always thanked the officer and even sent their departments nice letters thanking them.) The child’s dinner was on the table, cold. I would tell him to eat it and go to bed. Nothing else needed to be said. He experienced the natural consequences of his behavior. In counseling, I might have asked him how his day went. I might inquire about what he did. Did he think he made good decisions? At all points, the choices he made were his own. Sometimes I would help him plan better. Like setting aside money for an attorney if he plans on a life of crime. After all, the natural consequence of stealing is getting caught. Do it long enough and you will get caught.


Have you never stubbed your toe?

Really? You’re puzzled about consequences? Go break the law in your country and find out. Go steal from a store and get caught on purpose.

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Yes they do just not in a supernatural sense.

I guess you can say that death is a consequence of living.

It’s basically a moot point as to whether or not a person believes in consequences, because lack of belief in consequences more often than not tends to be a self-rectifying problem. Just my two cents worth.

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Exactly. Let’s consider a dictionary definition of the word:

a result of something that has happened, especially an unpleasant result

In short, you have causes, and you have effects;

the direct relationship between an action or event and its consequence or result

In other words, by accepting causality, you have accepted consequences as part of that. So consequences are not something you need to believe in (actually, it is rather pointless to even pretend causes and consequences are something you need to believe in), they are a direct result of the natural rules of causality.

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As I said, anyone who bizarrely believes consequences don’t exist, must never have stubbed their toe. I can briefly run through the consequences with the thread author if they’d like?

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:rofl: :joy: Lol that is like driving this Subaru car this way and at same time believe everything will be okay no crashes or anything well the car crashed and is now horribly stuck and I don’t think the insurance will cover that . It is a example of how consequences works drive reckless and a crash will happen or things will go wrong easy as that :slightly_smiling_face:.

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