The most effective thing is if the child is engaged in the correction. If it is imposed they were less likely to rebel against the punishment.
Discipline is teaching to change behavior. I am going to give you 14 Tools today that you may not have thought were “Discipline Tools”. You are trying to teach them how to have self-discipline. We are here to learn how to govern our ‘natural man’.
Comment from the blog several years ago…
“There is a common thread. Those times that things have gone smoothly are the times I have taken time for me. 30 minute of scriptures and 30 minutes in a power nap=an hour of power. At these times I’m more patient. This is about grace. He is there with us every step of the way, not the light at the end of the tunnel. We can’t neglect ourselves. We need our best selves every step of the way. The individual answers will come as we faithfully strive to take care of the vessel through which the inspiration can come.”
Seek the help before you are ready to jump ship.
Children do not have to feel worse before they act better. We want them to feel worse to know they are repentant. That feeling we are trying to impose creates discouragement. We aren’t rewarding them for bad behavior, but we are trying to create motivation for them.
Remember…..there are 14 tools! If one doesn’t work you use another one. That’s why there are 14. With every child something different will work. The key is not to discipline them all the same.
14 Tools of Discipline
1. Teaching children to properly say “I’m sorry”
How many times have you had little people fighting you say, “You can’t take their car away from him you need to say ‘sorry’? You know they are only sorry they got caught. You say, “I’m sorry.” You say, “I forgive you.” Then we say don’t fight again. Did you train them anyway? They are going away mad because they got caught. Is it important to teach them to say I’m sorry?
Class member: My kids are not naturally compassionate.
Kids are naturally selfish! Rarely will you have a child come that is concerned about other people. The natural man really wants what he wants when he wants it. We teach them to have compassion to other people.
You have to learn how to say “I’m sorry” so there is teaching in it.
To say, “I’m sorry” requires 4 statements….
- I am sorry for….
- This is wrong because…
- In the future I will….
- Will you forgive me?
Class member: In the moment sometimes you just need to give them time to feel those things right?
If they learn to do this in the moment the very process will diffuse the situation. The first time you walk them through it they will be angry. Teach this in FHE. This should be between spouses.
When they say “I’m sorry” and then justify it doesn’t change anything. If you can teach them the right way to say it, it will be magic in a marriage. The jump off point is starting with children. We make mistakes in our relationships.
“I am sorry for….” Needs to be very specific. This is where they acknowledge and understand what it causes in the other person. This is taking ownership of my mistake. This takes it out of making excuses. This brings it into me. I accept my responsibility in it.
“I am sorry for being mean.” Wrong….not specific enough. What did you did that was mean?
“I am sorry for saying that no one wants to be your friend.” That’s what you said that was mean.
“This is wrong because….” This is where the offender needs to identify what feeling it caused in the other person. Most people are happy if they can just be understood. This statement when you fill in this blank it fills in teaching compassion to the other person. Other people have feelings.
“This is wrong because I got in trouble” Wrong.
“This is wrong because it hurt your feelings and made you feel bad about yourself.” It puts me in your shoes.
“In the future I will….” You must phrase this in a positive! You can’t say, “In the future I will not…” The Spirit only validates you when you are in the positive. The Spirit will never validate the negative.
“In the future I will….never be mean again.” (Wrong) The Spirit will not validate that.
1. Acknowledge what you did wrong.
2. Become humble.
3. Use the Spirit and repentance.
“In the future I won’t say that.” Wrong
“In the future I will keep unkind words in my own head.” Right.
“In the future I won’t cut in line.” Wrong
“In the future I will go to the back of the line.” Right.
“In the future I won’t push.” Wrong
“In the future I will keep my hands to myself.” Right
“Will you forgive me?” This restores the relationship. This now has meaning. The other person still has the right to say No!
“A Better Way To Say Sorry”
There is great power in the 4 step process. They are making a change in the emotional direction.
Class member: I’ve taken this class before. My kids weren’t having it. I started to do it with them when I made a mistake. I have one daughter who can fly off the handle. You have to let her throw her tantrum for awhile before she comes back. She just poked at me until I blew my lid. I could see that I crushed her soul. I decided I would try this 4 step process. It was one of the most tender times when I truly said, “I’m sorry.” I said in the future I’m going to try to let you know that I’m feeling like I’m going to blow my lid. It’s been good for us to recognize that both of us are getting frustrated. It’s just helped to have a coin phrase for us. It’s made both of us stop poking at each other. We have truly forgiven one another for being so obnoxious to one another.
We need this as adults too. You apply the Atonement. Stop what you are doing. Look to the Savior and act.
I would pull this together in a FHE and make a chart that is very visual. Even when they aren’t in the mode of what I need to apologize for then when they get in the fight they will have already seen it.
2. Role Playing
If you want to teach this new tool I would come up with a few different applicable, but not pointed situations and while you are driving in the car say, “Let’s just role play this.” No one is in trouble. Let’s just play a game. Here is the situation. You can keep it in their memory. This will not work with teenagers. They will become offended.
It puts kids in someone else’s shoes and lets them/requires them to think from someone else’s view point. I would use from time to time let them be “you” (the Mom) and you become them.
Some of you will say go to your room and figure it out. The dominant child will say this is what we are going to do. The compliant child gets walked on. They haven’t been taught how to make that interaction together.
You have to train children.
Example: To one you say….What should you have said? Instead of just taking the toy. No you say it. To the other one…Now you say, “When I am finished with it you can have a turn.” Now you say it.
You can do role playing with anything. “Let’s try that again. What should you have said?” In our anger we usually don’t say it correctly.
Class member: We did this role playing with special ed kids. We would actually get behind them as if they were the kid. If you say it for them they will still do the behavior without saying the words.
The goal is not to create more tension. It’s to teach them how to resolve conflict. It maintains the respect of the stubborn child, but gives the feeling to the other child.
Class member: What would you do if you have a child that refuses to say “I’m sorry”?
Use a different tool. If you have a child that is bright red…you NEVER teach a child anything when they are in the middle of the fight. You have to bring them back to teach at another time. They have cooled down and you are at a point when you can teach and train. They need to be removed from the situation, cool down, and get back to the activity.
Ever since the “Come Follow Me” program came out this has reinforced my testimony of questions. This works really well for preteens and teens. This beats lecture! Lecture is a form of punishment. Question you can get them to say what you would have said if you had been lecturing IF you had been good as asking questions.
Questions need to be more than 1 word answers.
How do you feel?
What do you think should have happened?
Questions can only be applied effectively if you are at level zero. That’s an attack and it’s a punishment. Those don’t count as discipline you are already in punishment.
With little people you can talk right there. With someone older it’s ok to do the questions and the discipline at a different time (not right in the moment.) You MUST always go back and address it. Don’t just let it go. Your most effective discipline is when it’s self discipline.
How did that make you feel?
What is the right thing to do?
How do you think your sister feels?
Do you have any ideas about how this could be handled differently?
How do you think you could have handled them differently?
What do you think you should do about this?
What do you think the consequences might be?
This is to get them to feed back. This is not a lecture. Frequently you can just say, “What do you think we should do?”
4. Distract or Change Direction.
In the nursery 2 kids are fighting over something you just give one a different toy. You distract them and give them a different toy.
There is a line when you have kids playing especially boys. There reaches a point where the more dominant boy will always dominate the younger child. When it ceases to become a game for both of them and it becomes a defense for the younger one that’s where you need to intervene with distraction. No one has been hurt or offended. They don’t always get it. You feel where that is.
Don’t just “say” something “do” something!
I have 5 boys in a row. There were 5 of them in 6 years. As teenagers they are still fighting and wrestling in the living room. When they would dogpile I would listen for them I would just go out into the family room I would grab the belt of the top child and lift him up and say, “I really need you take the garbage out right now.” You just change their direction. It’s easier to change the direction than to stop the direction and then restart it a new direction. They don’t always have to come do work. You just redirect that behavior.
5. Time Outs
This is used by most parents as a punishment.
This is what we usually do….”Suzy you go to your room until you can be nice. She hits the door and comes right back. You go in there and stay there and think about how you have been behaving.” In our mind we think they are going to sit on their bed and think about what they did. They go down there and think about how mad you are. “When they are down there crying we think they are miserable enough. You can come out now. They are mad and upset that they are in their room, not about their behavior.”
The purpose of time out is not to punish them. The purpose of time out is ONLY to be a cool down period so you can train them. Sometimes it is very requisite that you take a time out as a parent. It may not be all day. Sometimes before we interact with our children we need to get our composure.
Class member: I have a Mom that said she does that. She is teaching them that she needs a time to cool down before she approaches the situation.
You better get in their on your knees and cool down so you can go back out and teach.
However, don’t abuse time out for you or for them.
The absolute necessity is that there is training that takes place. You can’t just say “So now you are going to be nice go play.”
Class member: I need to do the cool down and my son will come around and say “Hi Mom! Hi Mom!”
If you go into your room, you are taking yourself out of the situation. You may need to take yourself for a walk around the block. Part of what they are doing is the continual poke poke poke. Some of them want to know that they are still loved. You have to still come back to reaffirm love and train.
Class member: Are you saying when they are in time out it’s ok for them to kick the wall until they are calmed down?
It’s ok for them to do whatever they need to in their room….they can color, dance, read, sing…whatever they need.
If I had a white child they could be content to just be in their room. If you have a white child take a few minutes and then go in and train. Then they know they are in there because they want to be not because of discipline.
Class member: Sometimes my kids are destructive to my house.
Timeout may not be the tool for that child. You can leave them in there and let them cool down. Deal with the problem that took them there. Discuss that and then say, “You know I see you have ripped up all these papers while you were in here. Pick them up before you come out.” If they are breaking things that is an angry child. They are in revenge. Use a different tool. It has to be tougher love. The consequences are harsher than these.
Class member: My 12 year old daughter does self harm. She was punching walls not effectively, but she was mad. She was more hurt than angry. I’m not sure how to deal with this.
When she comes down to level zero you are going to have to teach her anger management tools. You teach them the tool to help them know what to do.
6 & 7 Natural & Logical Consequence
Lecture---while the child is at home. Time out (younger kids)/Grounding (older kids). There doesn’t have to be a consequence for every single behavior. Sometimes just talking about it is enough. First time offenders might just need to be talked to about it. Teaching always has to happen.
For a consequence to work taking away privilege for a white may not work. There has to be a hot button.
There are rules for consequences. There is an opportunity…that creates a responsibility….that creates a consequence (good or bad)…that is the law of the harvest.
Natural Consequence is something that will happen automatically without you doing anything.
Example…the child forgets their gym clothes they lose the grade for the day. Some helicopter parents would rush those over to the kids. It’s ok to help them out occasionally, but if it is chronic watch out.
Example….Parents were trying to teach kids money managements. The parents said, “I have to buy your clothes anyway. I’m going to give you that money.” They shopped and then came back. They had bought sale items because they could get more. A couple did really good. There was a younger child that wasn’t quite so good. He went out and bought a skateboard. He didn’t buy clothes.
If you are going to let it teach itself let the natural flow teach it’s course. The first day of school the other kids came out in nice clothes. The problem was that his tennis shoes the bottom was coming off. You need to be on their side. I’m glad you that you want to earn money to get some new shoes. Put duct tape around the shoes. Don’t rescue and buy the shoes for them to pay you back. Don’t spare them from the consequence.
Class member: What do you do if Mom & Dad have different ideas about how that works?
That’s a marriage issue, not a consequence issue.
Don’t give in!
Example: Nathan---General Conference & Prom (Sister Tanner will send me this story and I will post it then)
You need to have consequences for curfew. You can set an alarm clock with their names on them. They have to turn their alarm clock off before midnight in your bedroom. They already know what the consequences are before.
8. Putting Children in the Same Boat
We always think we have to find out who is wrong and who is right. The first one instigates the second one gets caught. If kids can’t get along together they are both at fault. When you come across them misbehaving everyone gets the same consequence.
Example: Everyone in this fight gets to go clean the sliding glass windows.
Example: Tracy’s boys had to go to Corey’s house in 100 degree weather to dig dandelions. They couldn’t go in the house.
Talk to each of them individually about what the consequence should be. Then use those consequences for both of them.
You have some kids that will instigate something and then tattle on the 2nd one. You don’t have to take sides. The children don’t feel like you love one of them more than the other.
9. Non-Verbal Communication
Example: It’s that child’s responsibility to feed the dog. They habitually forget to feed the dog. You are habitually nagging the child to feed the dog. Consequences have to be related to the behavior. One thing is that you could get rid of the dog. I’m not sure I am willing to do that. You sit down and have a conversation. I know you won’t forget to feed the dog, but just in case you forget just for me let’s say that if I notice the dog dish is empty I will turn your plate upside down you can hurry quick before prayer and feed the dog. If it’s time for prayer you can stay for prayer and then get up to feed the dog. The upside down plate is non-verbal communication.
Example: Maybe you have a TV that the kids think they need to watch. Put a sheet over the TV with a smiley face.
“Called of God”
My brother and I were in front of the TV one Saturday night around midnight,” says Henry J. “A tawdry comedy show that we shouldn’t have been watching was on. The basement room was dark except for the light from the television. Without warning, Mother walked in. She was wearing a white, flowing nightgown and carrying a pair of shears. Making no sound, she reached behind the set, grabbed the cord, and gathered it into a loop. She then inserted the shears and cut the cord with a single stroke. Sparks flew and the set went dead, but not before Mother had turned and glided out of the room.”
Unnerved, Henry J. headed to bed. His innovative brother, however, cut a cord from a broken vacuum and connected it to the television. Soon the boys had plopped back down in front of the television, hardly missing any of their show.
“Mother, however, got the last laugh,” Henry J. says. “When we came home from school the next Monday, we found the television set in the middle of the floor with a huge crack through the thick glass screen. We immediately suspected Mother. When confronted, she responded with a perfectly straight face: ‘I was dusting under the TV, and it slipped.’ ”
10. Make ups
What can you do to show them that you were sorry?
The feeling is different if spouse is late to a dinner even if it isn’t his fault if he comes home with a red rose and say “I’m sorry” rather than just showing up and saying “I’m sorry”. Your feelings are different towards him even though the sincerity is still the same in both situations. One is a physically thing you can see that shows you they are sorry.
That effort that says I will do something because I am really sorry makes sorry meaningful.
It’s the same thing with our children. If they offend or hurt they should do something for a make up. It makes it real. It teaches them that other people have feelings.
11. Family Meetings
This is a family counsel. It should be brought together to discuss ‘family problems’. Whoever has the problem expresses it as an “I” problem. There is no finger pointing or name calling. “I have a problem with our chaotic mornings. What can we do to have our mornings go smoother.”
You cannot attack, demean, or degrade others. Family meetings can be used to plan something as fun.
We don’t use family counsels enough. Go to lds.org for articles on how to conduct family meetings. I do not recommend that you have a family meeting and FHE on the same night. By the time you discuss a family meeting for an hour no one wants to stay for FHE. You could have a Family Meeting on Sunday night. You could have Family Meeting any time any day anywhere. It’s to solve a family conflict or plan an activity. Give you children assignments to help the family run.
You can post an agenda on the fridge. If the kids come and tattle you can say, “Put that item on the agenda for the family meetings.” You will be surprised how many problems will be solved before we make it to the family meeting because they don’t want to discuss it in the meeting.
Heber J. Grant “Anything you practice doing you become better at.”
Practice for Sunday behavior---9 kids under the age of 10 on the church bench. We need to practice Sacrament Meeting behavior. By doing it repetitively they knew I was getting serious. On the way to church in the car I said “Do you remember what we did after church?” Yes we had to practice.
Some of you have problems with your children and not putting their backpacks away. You think…how many times do I have to tell you? Put their backpack back on, go to the end of the driveway (they need the big picture), then hang it up where it goes. We will do it twice today. Just correcting them in the moment doesn’t give them big picture.
This is to create win-win. I get what I want. You get what you want.
Example…Can I go to the basketball game tonight? You bet! If your room is cleaned before the game.
Example….Can I play the computer? You bet! When your jobs are done.
What they want to do is not a right it is a privilege they can earn. You have to be cheering for them.
You have to be firm! You have to stand by what you said. This is the true test of your metal.
There has to be a ‘hot button’. You have to do something different.
Children want to feel power and in control of their life. You frequently will make job lists for them, but you could make a master list and let them choose which jobs they want to do.
Little people…do you want to wear the red shirt or the blue one.
The rule…..You have to be ok with either choice.
There are lots of things. Most of you will become comfortable in one or two things. Try lots of different ones.
- Try a new tool
- Read the “I’m sorry” article.
Matthew Holland “Muddy Feet and White Shirts”
One summer morning, in that same student apartment my dad just described, I told my mom I was going out to the playground. She said okay, but told me not to come running back in with muddy feet because she was in the middle of washing and waxing the floor. She repeated the statement again for emphasis as I scampered out the door in a pair of cutoffs, barefoot and shirtless. I must have played for an hour, and at least half of that time was spent in the mud. Then, knowing my mom would probably be finished with the floor and would read to me, I ran home full of boyish excitement and vigor. That same vigor kept me and my mud-covered feet going right up the steps, through the door, and halfway onto the nearly finished wash-and-wax job my mother was still stooped over.
Not waiting for a reaction and not wanting to leave my sin half finished, I ran across the rest of the floor, into my parents’ room, and slammed the door shut. Not knowing if I should jump out the second-story window or if just hiding under the bed would do, I burst into tears and hurled my small body onto the bed and prepared myself for the possibility of meeting my great-great-grandfather sooner than I had expected.
I heard the door open quietly and looked over. Oh, good, I thought. She wasn’t carrying a heated poker (paddle; switch; anything). Before she could say anything, I cried out, “Mom, you don’t love me.” To which she replied, “I do love you, and I’ll do anything to prove it.” She then picked up my filthy, muddy feet and kissed them. Needless to say, that experience taught me a great deal about the meaning of repentance and forgiveness, which lessons the Church would later reinforce.