Discipline: the Latin root word disciplina means both “teaching” and “learning.” (E.g., a disciple learns from a master who teaches.) If there is no learning occurring, there is no teaching occurring.
The Three Discipline Skills
We might say that a general goal of discipline is to teach children to care about themselves and others: Cooperation, Accountability, Integrity, Responsibility, and Empathy. New School Discipline rests upon the parent’s ability to dialogue and reach agreements where the child makes his/her own decisions.
Skill #1.Co-create (negotiate) clear agreements about two things:
- Behaviors (Things you either want or don’t want your child to do.)
- Consequences (Include positive and negative consequences.)
Skill #2. Hold the child accountable for breaking any agreements (the You-and-Me Dialogue).
- Don’t let them off the hook for breaking their agreements. Rescuing children through inconsistency is a way of telling children they’re incompetent.
- You-and-Me Dialogue: “How are going to treat each other?”
- Support your partner’s decisions with the child. Discuss later if necessary.
Skill #3. Be the consultant.Don’t rescue, but help the child solve his/her own problem.
- Be clear on who owns the problem. If the child does, not solve it; guide the child to solve it. This is like teach them to fish instead of giving them the fish.
- Use a 4 or 5 step process to guide the child in solving his/her problem.
The Parent’s Commitment to Dialogue
In my New School approach to discipline, the parent negotiates agreements instead of imposing rules because a person–including children–will be more likely to cooperate when s/he has participated in setting his/her own limits and behavioral expectations. In and of itself, the dialogue process is Continue reading