Parents should allow natural consequences to occur whenever possible. This is the same way God works with us here on earth. God always shows love toward his children. At the same time, God allows us to experience the consequences of our actions. God allows us to learn that the universe is operated on a set of rules and obedience to the rules creates prosperity. We discipline a child in the same manner. We are teaching a child, on a small scale, what he is to expect in life. For this reason, a consequence that is given to a child should be as close as possible to the natural consequences that the child will experience throughout life.
Little Martha always left her towels on the floor after bath time. She knew that her mother would pick them up. Martha left her clothes on the floor next to the hamper. She also soiled her clothes in dirt and mud when she walked on them with her shoes. She never worried. Her mother always picked up the clothes and cleaned them.
When Martha was almost 11 years old she could not even make toast for herself. As a growing child, she was constantly hungry. Martha knew her mother was kind and would get her whatever she wanted. Martha was a nibbler. She ate a little bit now and then. She never finished everything that was on her plate and never cleared the dishes. Martha also got a new cup every time she drank and left the cups scattered around the house.
Martha hated doing her schoolwork. She always waited until the last minute because she knew that her mother would make her do it. When her mother sat down with her to make her do the work, Martha did not do most of the work. She let her mother do the thinking. Martha liked the good grades that she got on her homework. Martha slacked off in class so that she could take the work home.
Martha hated waking up in the morning. She waited for the last minute and let her mother dress her. Martha usually missed the bus and rode to school with her mother. Martha liked riding to school with her mother. In the car, she listened to her favorite radio station. She also missed morning writing assignments every time she was late.
One day Martha’s mother became tired of being Martha’s maid and things changed for Martha. Martha’s towels had her name written on them. She was no longer allowed to use anyone else’s towels. Martha noticed that her towels began to smell very bad, because she left them on the floor. Martha also noticed that her towels stayed on the floor where she left them. Martha quickly ran out of towels. As weeks went by, Martha got tired of putting her clothes on her wet body and decided to wash her own towels. Martha stopped leaving her towels on the floor, so she did not have to wash them as much.
Martha noticed that her mother stopped picking her clothes up off the floor. She also noticed that she could only go two weeks without having to wash her clothes. When she ran out of clean clothes, Martha tried to wear dirty ones to school, but they had dirty shoe prints on them and the kids laughed at her. Martha quickly learned how pick up her laundry and wash her clothes.
Martha continued to grow and continued to be hungry. Her mother let her eat anytime she wanted, provided that she fixed the snack for herself. Martha also was required to wash every dish that she dirtied before she could play. Martha’s snacks became simpler. She no longer required cooked food for her snacks. She also tended to wait until suppertime so she could eat with the family. Mother also cooked for the family. Martha learned very quickly that she could use the same glass over and over again instead of dirtying a new one. This allowed her more time to play with friends and less time at washing dishes.
After Martha’s mother became tired of doing Martha’s work for her, it was no longer fun to do schoolwork at home. Martha had to think for herself. Martha’s mother would show her how to look up example problems in her book and would work out the example problems, but would not help her with the real problems. Martha spent a lot of time wishing that she had worked on the work in class and not during her play time at home. Martha also noticed that she could sit at the table all day long and stare at her homework, but the work would not get done itself. Mother would not do it either. When she woke up in the morning, it was still not done. Martha did not like getting a poor grade on her school work. Martha’s mother told the teacher that she may have to get held back a year in school. Martha did not like that. She wanted to change grades with her friends.
One day Martha’s mother stopped waking her up. Martha heard the alarm clock ring and went back to sleep as usual. When she woke up on her own, she was already an hour late for the bus. Martha was told that she could walk or ride her bike to school. Martha did not like riding her bike to school. School was a long ways away. Martha also felt silly that she had to ride her bike, while her mother drove the car slowly behind her. There was a line of cars behind her mother and some of them were honking the horn angrily. When Martha finally arrived at school, she had missed so much school work that she had to carry a lot of homework assignments home on her bicycle. Martha started waking up on time so that she would not miss the bus.