When The Consequences of an Act Are Not Anticipated

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The actions we take and the choices we make have consequences. We don’t always think through the results of what we do before we do them. There are consequences to the ways we resolve conflicts or respond to situations that bring up strong feelings. By thinking about actions before we take them, we can improve the chances that the results will be positive.

Short-term consequences are the immediate results of our actions. They are usually the feeling you experience from making a decision.

Long-term consequences are the results of our actions that may affect our lives over a longer period of time.

For example, someone might get you so angry that you hit him. The short-term consequences are that you might experience a release of your anger, and feel good about not being pushed around. The long-term consequences may be that you get caught, which may result in arrest or suspension from school.

Analyze the actions below in terms of short-term and long-term consequences. Think about the positive and negative results of the actions.

  1. ACTION — Your friend heard a rumor that Jesse, a boy from another gang, was going to beat you up after school. You get backup and wait for him across the street after school. You knock him to the ground.

SHORT-TERM CONSEQUENCE ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

LONG-TERM CONSEQUENCE ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

           2. ACTION — it is a warm summer night. There is a party in the park. Your neighbor left his keys in his car, so you take it. You decide to go on a joy ride.

SHORT-TERM CONSEQUENCE ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

LONG-TERM CONSEQUENCE ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

          3. ACTION — your girlfriend is sick, so you ask another girl to the dance.

SHORT-TERM CONSEQUENCE _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

LONG-TERM CONSEQUENCE _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Think of an action that you took during the past month that had negative long-term consequences. How did you make your choice? Were you influenced by a short-term consequence? ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

What tough important decision do you have to make now? _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

What will influence your decision? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________