When your child needs to be disciplined, how do you decide what to do? Do you decide, or are you just going with what you always do? Are you disciplining on auto-pilot? Most of the time, when we need to discipline, the first question we ask ourselves is “What consequence should I give?” Instead, I’d like to encourage you to begin asking three different questions: 1. Why did my child act this way? If we look deeper at what’s going on behind the behavior, we can often understand thatour child was trying to express or attempt something that they didn’t handle appropriately. If we understand this, we can respond more compassionately, more proactively, and more appropriately.
2. What’s the lesson I want to teach in this moment? The goal of discipline isn’t to give a consequence. The goal of discipline is actually to teach, but we forget this easily.
3. What’s the most effective way to teach this lesson? Answering this question may allow you to be more creative and effective in teaching the lesson, instead of just doing the same thing over and over. In fact, answering this question may reveal that your current practices aren’t actually teaching the lesson you want to teach in the best way—or, it might make you feel great about what you’re doing.