I shared with you the 7 Foundational Principles of Tried-and-True Discipline in a previous blog post. Now let’s talk about a practical tool for disciplining your child. I call it the three “R”s of discipline: remove, reflect and reconnect. Now, before you think that these R’s only apply to younger children, know that, with some minor adjustments, they can apply to young teens as well.
When you need to discipline, immediately remove your child from the situation and send him to his room. The goal is to give him time to think about what he’s done, and at the same time give everyone time to calm down and get ready to talk about what just happened.
Then, when you feel like your child is ready and has a calm spirit, move onto the next “R,” Reflect.
When you and your child reflect, discuss what happened. Ask your child three questions:
- “What did you do wrong?” Don’t let him make excuses or blame others.
- Next, ask him, “Why was it wrong?”
- Finally, ask, “What are you going to do differently the next time?” You want to shape his heart so he’ll be self-motivated to change his behavior the next time. Here, you’ll also want to talk about the consequences.
When your children do misbehave, you need to already have consequences in place. Make sure the consequences match the offense. And, your kids need to know what they are. You can break those consequences into three groups.
- The first group includes bickering, name calling, complaining or whining. The consequence here is remove, reflect and reconnect, the three “R”s .
- The next group is disobedience. Go ahead with the three “R”s, but add an extra chore.
- Finally, for lying or willful defiance, use the three “R”s and take away a privilege like spending the night out or driving the car.
Now comes a very crucial step, the third R, reconnect.
Before you finish, make sure the bond between you and your child is not broken. Hug your child. Tell your child you love him no matter what and believe in his ability to make the right decision the next time.
What are some of the ways you handle discipline in your family?