Young people can sometimes find it hard to consider (or don’t care about) the consequences of their actions, which results in them making choices that have a negative impact on themselves or others.
This week’s youth work session plan is designed to help youth explore the natural and logical consequences that result from a variety of different behaviors. By having your young people consider consequences, they’ll be better placed to make informed decisions and make better choices in the future.
What are natural and logical consequences?
Natural consequences are those that happen naturally and aren’t imposed by anybody else. Logical consequences are those that happen as a result of a choice that they’ve made and which are imposed by somebody else.
To give an example of the difference between natural and logical consequences, take the situation of a young person who sometimes babysits in the evening. If they had arranged to babysit one night and didn’t show up, a natural consequence is that they wouldn’t earn any money that night, while a logical consequence could be that the family wouldn’t ask them to babysit for them again as they think they’re unreliable.
Scenarios To Explore
For your youth work session, we’ve provided a list of different scenarios below. Have your young people consider each of these scenarios and work out both the natural and logical consequences they might encounter. Think through the issues and pressures that your young people face and add extra scenarios to the list that you think might be relevant to their lives:
- Going out without a coat and it starts raining
- Not eating fruits and vegetables
- Texting while driving
- Doing drugs
- Not doing homework
- Insulting someone on Facebook
- Having sex without a condom
- Bullying someone
- Not tidying your bedroom
- Not showing up to work
- Stealing from a store
- Stealing from a friend
- Stealing from parents
- Eating too much candy
- Not exercising
- Watching porn
- Gossiping about friends
- Getting in a fight at school
- Getting in a fight outside of school
- Not doing chores
- Cheating on an exam
Consequences From Different People
Depending on the scenario, they may receive logical consequences from different people. For example, if they don’t do their homework it’s unlikely they’ll receive a logical consequence from their friends, but they might get a detention from their teacher or be grounded by their parents.
Explore these different kinds of consequences and which ones they feel have more impact on their actions.
Consequences For Other People
The behavior of young people will often not only affect themselves, but others as well. When going through the scenarios, have them also consider the impact on the following people:
- Members of the public
This can help them to consider their actions in a different way than if the focus is purely on themselves. For example, getting young people who smoke to consider the impact it has on a younger brother or sister could lead them into re-evaluating their actions. Even though they know smoking is harmful, they often don’t care about their own health. Young people can be loyal and staunch defenders of their younger siblings though, so getting them to stop and think about how their example could encourage their brother or sister to smoke could have more impact.
Ways To Explore Consequences
This session could be hard-going for your youth, so try to explore the different scenarios and their natural and logical consequences in some of these different ways:
- Discuss as one large group
- Discuss in smaller groups
- Have young people call out their ideas for you to write on a flipchart
- Provide the youth with sticky notes to write their ideas on, with them then sticking the notes on a flipchart
- Provide the youth with a worksheet that has a table listing scenarios and spaces for them to write their thoughts on natural and logical consequences
This session plan could prove to be uncomfortable for your young people, especially if they’re not used to having consequences for their actions. It’s therefore important for the session to not be an exercise in being judgmental against their behaviors, but about equipping them to make positive decisions for the future.
Question: How would you explore natural and logical consequences with your young people? We’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments below.
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