Saturday, March 27, 2010

The R's of Discipline

"Moreover your little ones and your children...who today have no knowledge of good and evil, they shall go in there; to them I will give it, and they shall possess it."--Deuteronomy 1:39

Now that I've shared why my husband and I will not be spanking our child, I thought I'd share some of the disciplinary tools we are planning to use to help and guide our little man through the confusing journey of growing up. I compiled a list, "The R's of Discipline" to sum up the basic principles and practical application.


The strategic use of distraction to transition very young children away from an undesired activity to a desirable one.


Teaching values, morals and good behavior to a child through verbal communication, games, reading books, drawing pictures, utilizing real-life experiences, being an example, training, and making opportunities to convey lessons as often and as creatively as possible.


Modeling the behavior and values ourselves that are expected from our children. Here's a powerful video that shows representation needs to be one of our highest priorities as parents..


Firmly and clearly addressing and correcting bad behavior. With young children firm language should also be accompanied by restraint or removal in a potentially harmful situation (like touching a hot stove or running towards the road).

Respect :

Showing the child the same respect we expect them to show us; respect for their feelings, perspective, situation, body, and voice.


Explaining the purpose behind a rule, restriction, correction or standard. Children are much more likely to behave if they know WHY they should behave in a certain way. The phrase "Because I said so" only plants the seeds of resentment.


Clearly and SIMPLY stating the behavior expected from a child and WHY it is expected on a regular basis, especially for younger children who have short attention spans.


Creating a clear set of fair standards for the home and life in general along with the principles behind those standards. So children KNOW what is expected from them.


Followup with consequences for bad behavior. If you have established that certain behaviors have certain consequences, follow through and don't make idle threats.


Repeatedly praising a child for good behavior and reaffirming your love for them no matter what their behavior is.


the consistent practice of discipline.


Strengthening the bond and trust between a parent and child. Many behavioral problems stem from broken relationships and lack of trust in this vital relationship. Seek honest communication, respect, and quality time with the child.


Acknowledging good behavior and going out of the way to associate behaving well with good experiences.


The use of time-outs, taking away privileges, rewards, objects of interests, etc., etc.,


Physically restricting a child from touching "no-no" items or from hurting themselves like during a temper tantrum or running out in the road.

Having children replace belongings they have broken or damaged.

This a basic principle that teaches a child responsibility for their actions and can be applied in different ways depending on the age and understanding of a child. If my toddler is playing with another child and purposefully breaks that child's toy out of frustration, then my toddler would be instructed to give the child one of their own toys of "equal value." If an older child damages or is careless with other people's belongings, that child would have to replace the damaged items with money from their allowance or work it off in some other way.

Realistic Consequences:

In a controlled environment AND within reason, allowing children to experience the natural consequences of their actions. If they refuse to eat a lunch, they cannot eat again until the next meal, if they refuse to do their own laundry, they have to wear dirty clothes until they do, if they are told to hold on tightly to their balloon and still let go, the balloon floats away and they lose it. There are countless ways to allow children to experience the logical conclusions to their actions. Here's a decent article explaining the concept further.

Regaining Order:

Establishing a controlled-environment in which a child's temper tantrum does not take over a social situation. For instance, if a toddler throws a temper tantrum at a restaurant because they want dessert now and refuses to calm down after being instructed to, the parent would immediately remove the child from the table, take them to the bathroom or the car, make sure they are safe, but allow them to choose their behavior. They can continue throwing a tantrum, but it will only keep them from the fun inside, will not get them what they want, and the parent will not even engage in a conversation with the child until they choose to compose themselves. Once the child has calmed themselves down, BEFORE bringing the child back inside, discuss their behavior, instruct them on how they must behave once they go back if they want to stay in the restaurant. Repeat process if necessary. The same principle can be carried out while shopping or just at home. It's time-consuming and requires the parent to sacrifice their social time as well. But if this practiced consistently, it will not have to be done that much or for long. The child will soon learn that temper tantrums simply do not work.


Anticipating a child's behavioral tendencies (based on temperament and experience) and creating a plan before bad behavior arises. Discipline sessions go much smoother if a parent already knows how to respond to unwanted behaviors. Also, by being acquainted with a child's behavioral tendencies, a parent can avoid putting a the child in overly-tempting situations unnecessarily. For instance, don't take a temper-tantrum prone child on a long shopping during nap time. Make it as easy as possible for the child to do what is right by avoiding situations that are too much for the child to handle. Don't surround the child with things he cannot touch. Maximize the outlets to play and explore and limit the chances to get into trouble.

These are some of the disciplinary techniques we have chosen, what are some of the disciplinary techniques you find work best in your family?

Here are the links to the rest of this series:

We're Coming Out of the Closet...

Spanking and the Bible

Are the "Rod" Verses Figurative or Literal?

Why do some Christian Reject Spanking?

Spanking and The Imperfect Parent


student aid said...

Ohhhhh this is great all word is important for the discipline nice tutorial sharing thanks.

Another Blogger said...

This is amazing, is that picture of the father's feet and child's feet on copyright or can I use it on my blog? Thanks