Natural and Logical Consequences

Diana Lang

For definitions and examples of natural and logical consequences see the Dreikurs chapter.

a young girl holding a doll
Figure 1. A young girl plays with a toy doll. (Photo Source: Graham Crumb/, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Caregivers can use both natural and logical consequences for children to learn better behaviors. Both natural and logical consequences encourage children to take responsibility for their actions and behaviors, but in different ways. [1]

Natural consequences allow children to learn from the natural outcomes of a situation [2] and logical consequences allow the parent to set the consequences of a child’s undesired actions or behaviors. [3]

Logical consequences work best when consequences are immediate and consistent.  It is also important to talk with the child about the behavior and to discuss what alternative behaviors would be better to use. [4]


  • Natural consequence: Sophie leaves her favorite hair styling doll outside overnight.  It rains on Sophie’s doll and ruins its hair.  Now Sophie’s doll is ruined and she is no longer able to style the doll’s hair.
  • Logical consequence: Juan hits a baseball into his neighbor’s yard and breaks the neighbor’s window.  Juan’s parents require Juan to apologize to the neighbor and to complete chores around their own home in order to pay for the neighbor’s broken window.

Key Takeaways

  • Natural consequences are when a child learns from and experiences the natural outcomes of situations.
  • Logical consequences are when parents set the consequences of a child’s behaviors.
    • This works best when the consequences are immediate and consistent.

  1. Matthews, D. (2017). Logical consequences: Helping kids learn from their mistakes. Retrieved from
  2. Morin, A. (2019). How to make natural consequences an effective discipline tool. Retrieved from
  3. Allen, R. A., & Boelter, L. A. (2016). Using natural and logical consequences. Retrieved from
  4. Wise, R. W. R. (2019). How to use natural and logical consequences to improve children's behavior. Retrieved from


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