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Usage: My son was playing with his food. He dropped it on the ground and the dog ate it and he cried. He was ignorant of the consequences of playing with his food.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

In addition to Carlo_R's good suggestion of reckless, you might consider short-sighted

dealing with things that are happening now but failing to consider what will happen in the future: short-sighted plans

Your question specifically asks about being ignorant of consequences. If you also want to consider ignoring consequences you might use

  • heedless
  • foolhardy
  • imprudent
  • ill-considered
  • injudicious
  • improvident
  • rash
  • overhasty
  • careless
  • ill-advised
  • unthinking
  • ill-conceived
  • inconsiderate
  • incautious

Clearly most of these would not fit your young son, but might suit other circumstances.

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In certain contexts, naïve may also be appropriate. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Aug 2 '13 at 16:46

I think you are looking for "reckless".

Merriam-Webster defines it as (emphasis mine):

(Function: adjective)

1 : marked by lack of proper caution : careless of consequences

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This is probably what I'm after. I'd like to see a few more suggestions though. – Mike Cole Aug 2 '13 at 15:46
@MikeCole Wait, your son is reckless for dropping some food accidentally? That seems a bit extreme and judgmental. – Mitch Aug 2 '13 at 18:06
@Mitch - it's an example. Short-sighted was really what I was looking for. – Mike Cole Aug 2 '13 at 18:23
+1 reckless was my initial reaction to the question as asked. – bib Aug 3 '13 at 1:25
@bib, you are a loyal member, thank you! – user19148 Aug 3 '13 at 10:59

A better choice for a child might be "imprudent":marked by a lack of awareness or concern for the consequences of one's acts; rash; unwise.

A child is unaware of consequences; reckless suggests disregard.

Depending on how young the child is, this and other similar adjectives, might have to be used with some tender irony.

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Ignorance of consequences equates with a lack of knowledge about what will happen. Ignorance does not equate with recklessness, disregard, carelessness, although an ignorant person may have a surfeit of those habits.

Terms uninformed (“not informed; ignorant”), inexperienced (“Not experienced; lacking knowledge or experience; green”), and ignorant (“Unknowledgeable or uneducated; characterized by ignorance”) perhaps more properly express ignorance of consequences.

Another related word is naive (“Lacking worldly experience, wisdom, or judgement; unsophisticated”). One who is naive (a naif) may often not know the range of possible consequences in any given circumstance.

Previously-mentioned short-sighted (“(figuratively) Unable to see long-term objectives; lacking foresight”) is related to ignorance of consequences in that one who is short-sighted is likely to not look into what the consequences of actions may be. This word is more about ability and attitude than about knowledge of what will happen.

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