John Cowan - Discipline Should Never Be A Surprise

Publish Date
Thursday, 20 October 2016, 12:29PM
By John Cowan

Communication is a huge part of good discipline. It means that kids understand what is expected of them and why. Discipline should never be a surprise – kids should never find themselves in trouble because they broke some rule that they didn’t even know about – it is only fair that the rules and boundaries be clearly explained.

A child should understand about consequences. Do they actually know that this is a wrong thing to do? Do they know that there will be a consequence for doing it? And they shouldn't be punished for mistakes either, but they should know that there will be consequences, especially if they were careless.

One of the best ways of doing this communication is discussing rules and boundaries at a family meeting. State the problem and then ask for them to help solve it, and that solution could be a rule. You Could say, “I have a problem. There are no dry towels. They are all on the floor in your bedroom or on the bathroom floor. How are we going to solve this?”  Some of their ideas might be daft – they might suggest you just shake yourself like a dog to dry off – and no one says you have to automatically agree with their suggestions, but you will often be amazed at their good ideas.  Kids are always far more compliant with rules that they have had a say in drafting.

It gets very interesting if you ask them what should  happen if a rule gets broken – you might be amazed at how cruel the penalties are that they suggest! They never think it will be them being penalized, they always think it will be their little brother who gets in trouble.

Anyway, give it ago – you might be surprised how well it works.

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