This reply was originally posted by user wsllbe in ADDitude’s now-retired community.
I’m so conflicted about the idea of natural consequences (maybe because there is so much conflicting advice out there). On the one hand, “trial by fire” hinges on the attitude that suffering the consequences will motivate the individual to do better next time. But, what if they can’t? If someone in a wheelchair were in a fire, it would behoove them to get up and run out of the building -but they can’t. In this view, letting them suffer the consequences/get the bad grades/face the teacher’s reaction… might just lead to low self esteem.
My son is super-smart too, but, whether it be due to his ADD or the fact that he is 14, logic is not always a strong point. I’m worried that, if allowed to bomb, he’s not going to deduce that he should accept that help his parents, teachers, advisor, a tutor, etc… are offering.” I think he might turn around and just think “I’m a dumb loser.” Right now, I’ll be forced to see how this approach works because he does refuse the help and nagging doesn’t lead to more doing of homework, just more lying (on his part) and anger (on everyone’s part). So, we are hands off right now. He’s in the middle of mid-terms. Wish us luck!