Should you stop teaching rules?

Should you stop teaching rules?

Are you a parent who feels like you are constantly correcting your child?

Are you a teacher who feels like you are constantly correcting your students?

Do you feel that you are redirecting and repeating behavior rules all the time?

Guess what? You probably are.  In fact, research shows that from ages two to ten children are urged by their parents to change their behavior once every six to nine minutes… 50 discipline encounters a day or over 15,000 a year!  No wonder you are so tired.

So how can you make sure that all that correcting is effective anyway?

Two discipline options

The same research shows that there are a couple of ways adults can chose to correct a child.  One is using reasoning or a rational approach.  It often involves identifying a rule and why it is wrong. For instance:  The rule is no hitting. Hitting your sister or your classmate is wrong because it hurts people.

Another option is to have fewer rules but focus those rules around values. The golden rule is a good example:  The rule is treat others as you would want to be treated. So, I know you don’t like someone to hit you, do you? How does it make you feel?  How would your sister feel if you hit her? What about your classmate?

You may wonder what difference it makes. Aren’t rules… just rules? According to the research, it can make a lot of difference.

For one thing, rules often have exceptions, loopholes and work-arounds. It’s easy to argue with a rule.

However, teaching values mean that the individual has to understand the value, think about the situation and then apply the value in terms of the best behavior. So you can see why teaching values creates adults who are able to demonstrate, even in difficult situations where there is pressure to follow a crowd mentality, that they can behave in ways that demonstrate positive character values. Teaching positive values such as integrity, honesty, perseverance, or compassion trumps simple rules every time.

To read more about rules, core values and empathy, check out Michele Borba’s excellent book, The UnSelfie, Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All About Me World.

 Wyatt Learns about Good Manners

Wyatt is always wondering about something and lately it is how to get his friend, Max to change his bossy ways.  What can he do?  Join Wyatt as he considers some rather unusual options until he finally discovers that a heart to heart talk with Max can create a new friendship with an old friend.

puppet and book

Wyatt the Wonder Dog: Learns About Good Manners


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