Tools For Learning

Inspiration for Parents & Educators

Discipline Without Tears! 6 Easy Steps

on August 9, 2013

wpid-Discpline375.jpgFor kids who are in need of some behavior interventions, consider this proactive approach that has its’ basis in a ‘win-win” philosophy. The focus is that for everyone concerned, needs are met and all feel valued. This positive method to correct inappropriate behavior is effective because it is grounded in the belief that kids resist being controlled. In trying to just “control” your kids, you use an inordinate amount of time and energy. This type of reactive restraint takes away their opportunities to develop confidence, responsibility, and self-control. Using the strategies of the 6 Easy Steps will help prevent most discipline problems before they occur. Each step has an encouraging impact on your kids’ behavior, and lets them know that you have their best interests in mind.

Step #1 Separate Kids From The Action
Separating your youngster from the action is basic if you are to effectively handle negative behavior without attacking their worth. Say to your child: “I love you, but I don’t like you hitting your sister.” Many times you think you send clear messages to your kids but you really don’t. In some cases they just weren’t listening, or maybe they didn’t process your directions in the manner you thought they should. In some situations, you may need to set new limits, options, or sometimes even consequences. “Clean up your room after you finish your homework.” or “Take the trash out before dinner.” Perhaps some motivation may help your young one to action. “When you’re finshed feeding the dog, we’ll go out for ice cream.” Use what ever rewards that will work for your kids. If you’re not sure, ask them, they’ll be sure to tell you.

Step #2 Give Positive Reinforcement
Keep in mind that positive feedback is best used to maintain and reinforce desired existing behavior. Give recognition in straightforward terms.”As soon as you finish your lunch, we’ll watch a video.” A promise is much more respectful and pleasant to hear, and is much more likely to get a positive response from kids than making a threat, no matter what the situation may be.

Recognize your young one’s appropriate behavior. It neither depends on your approval, nor does it establish a value judgement. It simply describes the child’s behavior. Recognition statements help connect the behavior to how it pays off for them. “Your chores are done, now you may go out to play.” Recognition focuses on the task itself and its’ benefit to the child – and not you!

Step #3 Motivate By Giving Choices
Motivation is important because kids choose options based on what will fulfill their needs at a given time. Having choices often generates cooperation and commitment when threats and bribes haven’t worked. Ask your child to select the sequence of the chores to be done. It’s her choice which task she wants to complete first. Give no more than 2 directives at one time, especially for younger children. You don’t want to overwhelm and confuse them. Keep your requests simple.

Step #4 Connect Choices With Outcomes
Consequences teach more than words. As long as they are made clear and ahead of time they are very effetive in establishing appropriate behavior. They are in your kids best interests to allow them to occur. Following through on clear limits and options is a good positive reinforcement strategy. An important consideration is to set limits for kids according to their age and personality. If you haven’t made any changes in your rules for awhile, now may be a great opportunityto do so. Have you ever heard of the “write” rule? If your older kids don’t take rules seriously, try putting them on paper. Include the rules and what happens if they are disobeyed. “Put your bike and skateboard in the garage when you come in for the evening. They will not be returned to you for 3 days if they’re left outside overnight.”

Step #5 Develop A Work Ethic In Your Kids
Give your kids small jobs to perform, not only the care of their own possessions, but also things that serve the entire family. Even very young children can put their clothes away, get the mail, or set the table. These kinds of responsibilities give them a feeling of independence as well as a sense of their own worth. Help your young ones understand that for the rest of their lives they will be expected to perform some tasks that are neither enjoyable nor self-fulfilling. They must be taught that significant achievement is almost always the result of hard work. This idea may just be the single most important element in the dynamic growth of your kids at home, in school, and in the Information Age World.

Step #6 Set a Good Example
As a parent, you have the rsponsibility to act in such a way that your young ones can look up to you and learn from your actions. Of course, you need to instruct and guide them with your advice, but receiving the right instruction will make little or no difference at all to kids who see their parents doing the very things they have warned them against doing. Children understand, sometimes better than adults, that “actions do speak louder then words.” Good behavior begins at home! Be a Good Example!

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