Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Sanity-Saving Discipline: Part 1

In my early years of elementary school, I dreaded giving my report card to my mother. It wasn't because my grades were bad. In fact, they were usually very good. No, my concern was a single line in the "Behavior Comments" section: Controls unnecessary talking. Unfortunately, it was almost always marked N (Needs Improvement) or the dreaded U ( UNSATISFACTORY).

Years down the road, after many conferences in which my mother was "informed" of my talking problem, she resolved herself to the idea that it might actually be a positive trait...a leadership trait! She still expected me to try to control it, but her new perspective certainly blessed me on report card days. As might be expected, I too have been blessed with children who display "leadership traits."

As moms, one of our primary goals is to see our children mature into self-controlled, respectful and responsible adults, yet we are not always aware of the best ways by which to accomplish that goal. To that end,  I spent a great deal of time looking for information and resources that would work for our family. I'd like to share with you the system that we've developed as a compilation of what I found in my search. We've been using it for the past couple of years, and I have observed marked improvements in my children's self-discipline, respect and sense of responsibility. Our "discipline stool" is supported by three "legs:"

1. House Rules
2. The Daily Consequence Chart
3. 5 Stars

The premise behind the concept of House Rules is that you need a standard by which to judge behaviors, providing consistency for the child and preventing arguments about what is allowed and what is not. 

Basically, it's a short list of rules that you believe to be essential. After days of copying from those available on the internet, pasting, rewording, shortening, expanding, etc., I formed our family's House Rules. You're welcome to click here to load a document format, but the following image will probably serve you just as well, as you'll probably rewrite your own. Please pardon the plain language used to describe unsavory behaviors...flatulate is not yet in my children's vocabulary ;)

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