Warning Signs when the Disciplinary Approach may not be working:
1. CHILDREN DON’T LISTEN
When you tell them to do something, they ignore you, argue their way out of it or say they’ll do it but don’t. This means they don’t take you seriously and aren’t too worried about whether you know it or not. This is a good time to have a serious talk about the importance of obedience and your need to be more firm, with age-appropriate consequences to follow inappropriate actions. For example, when they ask to go outside with the others and you explain they can go out just as soon as their task is finished or when they ignore reminders like trying to finish a drawing while moving to another activity or not turning off the television or video when the parent was waiting to pick the child up. Be fair and be consistent and you should see better results.
2. CHILDREN ARE DISRESPECTFUL
When children talk back or fail to show respect to authorities, it is important to take control of the situation. Explain the importance of mutual respect. Then post rules indicating the consequences for talking back, yelling, or using other types of improper communication or attitudes. Consequences may include loss of playtime, not watching TV or a video. Set a good example.
3. CHILDREN ARE NON-COMPLIANT
When you ask them to do something, they refuse. Or when you expect cooperation, they avoid it through a series of skillful maneuvers. There is passive or aggressive non-compliance. Both kinds reflect undesirable attitudes in the children. Teach them the value of working with authorities like parents and teachers, not plotting against them. Discipline includes guidance as well as correction.
4. CHILDREN ARE RUDE TO OTHERS
This may include running around the classroom when they were asked to sit down, making fun or bullying another child or pushing down another classmate. They may interrupt adult conversations. Perhaps, they disrespect someone’s property. Our job includes teaching children how to respect the rights and property of others and to punish them when they fail to do so.
5. CHILDREN ARE SNEAKY AND SECRETIVE
When you learn that the child is breaking rules behind your back, such as talking or going to forbidden places with other children, you must put your foot down and clarify boundaries as well as issue punishments for infractions of rules. Explain that rules are to protect rather than hinder us and that you punish children because you love them so much you are unwilling to let them get hurt.
Being a teacher or parent isn’t always fun, especially when it comes to discipline. If your disciplinary strategies aren’t working, be prepared to reevaluate the situation and revise your approach to guide and correct children for their own good and society’s well-being.
*When harsh discipline is used, it focuses anger on the parent and effective discipline allows children to “hurt from the inside out” and focus on their actions.
NEXT WEEK: WHAT IS TRUE BEHAVIOR?