Discipline… What works?
Teaching Rules or Values?
Do you feel like you are constantly correcting children?
Does it seem 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, 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 and hitting your sister 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. What is the value or virtue that you teach? Kindness, caring, empathy or understanding. It might sound like this: “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 is the kind thing to do in this situation?”
You may wonder what difference it makes. Isn’t this just semantics? Aren’t rules… just rules? According to the research, it can make a lot of difference. The second option creates adults who choose to behave in ways that demonstrate positive character values, even in difficult situations where there is pressure to follow a crowd mentality. Our goal as parents and educators should be to teach in the present but always prepare children for the future. So teaching positive values such as integrity, honesty, perseverance, kindness or compassion trumps simple rules every time.
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.
Have you ever had a friend that did some things that you disagreed with? Wyatt does and he doesn’t know what to do about it. Join Wyatt as he learns that being honest with his friend is the best and only way to solve the problem. A great story!
~Lynn Hughes M.Ed. professional school counselor, Ball Ground Elementary
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