Article Summary:A discipline strategy to try with your child that also develops their reasoning and responsibility.
When your children misbehave, would you like them to take responsibility? If you answer "Yes" to any of the following questions, use your kids' reasoning powers to show you how.
- Do your children sass?
- Do your children whine?
- Do your children avoid chores?
- Do your children fight?
- Do your children lie?
In my counseling practice, parents didn't want to be judge and jury. Instead, they wanted their kids to take responsibility for their own actions. If your children exhibit similar behaviors to the above, you can get out of the middle and help your children change. Below is a method that works with children from elementary grades through high school. Don't worry if your kids don't like it. They're not supposed to.
Give your child a lined 8" x 11" paper and say, "Write out (or draw if your children are too young to write) the answers to the following 3 questions."
- What did I do wrong?
- Why was it wrong?
- What are three ways I could have acted better?
Your kids must complete the above before doing other things. When done, tell your children to come and discuss their answers with you. If they did a sloppy job, tell them to go back and redo it. (Keep these papers in a 3-hole notebook as a snapshot of their reasoning development. It will become a priceless keepsake for you to treasure always.)
Notice how this method puts the responsibility on your child's shoulders for both the misbehavior and the solution.
Why is this method a logical consequence?
- First, your child is using his/her reason.
- Second, using reason is logical.
- Third, the actions of writing or drawing fit the misbehavior because they admit responsibility, tell why it is wrong, and come up with solutions.
Use this method and get out of the middle. Stop being the judge and jury. Help your kids experience the consequences of their behaviors. Teach them to take responsibility for their actions. Build character too.
Here's to your parenting success!
Jean Tracy - "Granny Jean" - graduated from Seattle University with a degree in Education. She taught elementary school in Washington, California, and Connecticut. Inspired by her desire to help the problem children in her classes, Jean returned to graduate school. She earned a Master's Degree in Social Work from Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania.
Upon returning to her home in Washington State, Jean worked as a probation officer and then developed a private counseling practice with families and children that spanned twenty-two years. During this time she achieved a Diplomate in Clinical Social Work.
For more information visit Granny Jean's website, www.kidsdiscuss.com.