Most adults try to control a defiant child. But control rarely works. If you’ve tried to control a defiant child, regardless of their age, you’ve likely been met with counterwill.
“Counterwill” is the name for the natural human resistance to being controlled. Although adults experience this phenomenon, we seem to be surprised when we encounter it in children. Counterwill is the most misunderstood and misinterpreted dynamic in adult-child relations.
This instinctive resistance can take many forms—the reactive “No!” of the toddler, resistance when hurried, disobedience or defiance, and lack of motivation. Counterwill can manifest itself in procrastination or in doing the opposite of what is expected. It can be expressed as passivity, negativity, or argumentativeness and is such a universal … >>>
Both parents and teachers wonder what is the best discipline for children. For many adults, doling out punishments in the form of time-outs, principal referrals, or grounding is the norm. Those who know my work realize that I disagree with these approaches. So that then begs the question: “What is the best discipline for children?”
Based on what people have read about the Discipline Without Stress methodology, some may conclude that I am against all punishments. This is a wrong assumption. I have no problem with ADULTS using punishments for justice, fairness, or safety.
With young people, however, the problem is not the punishment or the consequence for inappropriate behavior (levels A and B); rather, it is the question of … >>>
Those who use the Discipline Without Stress methodology quickly realize that the approach has far reaching effects beyond the classroom.
Presently, our whole society is plagued with values confusion, resulting in inappropriate behaviors and decisions in every aspect of life: work, politics, home, etc. In fact, undesirable behaviors (Levels A and B) are prevalent and rampant in our society. The news provides us with endless examples of this. It seems apparent that our whole society is now in need of “raising responsibility” and of becoming more conscious of choices made so that our society as a whole does not feel the negative effects.
Knowing this, schools need Discipline Without Stress now more than ever so that the emerging generations can … >>>
One common early mistake teachers make is to think that knowledge of the levels, ABCD, is the “magic key” to Discipline Without Stress—that once students know the levels and can identify their level at any point in time, that all the teacher has to do is ask, “At what level is this behavior?” and the child will magically move to level C or D. If only it were that easy!
Realize that the levels are just a UNIQUE vocabulary aspect of Discipline Without Stress that enables teachers and students to more easily communicate about types of behavior choices. They also enable students to reflect silently in … >>>
When it comes to discipline, many people think rewards are effective for changing behavior. Although the intentions are admirable, giving rewards for expected appropriate behavior does as much harm as good. Rewards are simply not an effective discipline approach.
The following example of why rewards don’t work was sent to me from a reader:
“I just wanted to quickly relay a rewards-based disaster. One of our seventh graders, in fact, the daughter of a teacher, recently wanted to go to the Positive Behavior Support (PBS) reward dance. She is an A honor roll student, never a discipline problem, and a wonderful kid. In the haste of ‘bribing’ misbehaving students to be good, we neglected to ‘reward’ her for doing what … >>>
When students are following procedures, they are at an acceptable level of behavior: Level C. At this point discipline isn’t an issue, and you don’t need rules. The procedures and expectations accomplish what rules are supposed to do, and your need for discipline help diminishes. Even better, the procedures and expectations are better than discipline because they spell out clearly and exactly what you want students to do.
Level D is always available as a choice. You might refer to that option a lot, but always word it as an OPTION, which is the secret to making it even more attractive.
With very young students, aim at getting them to understand the difference in a very simple concrete way … >>>
Why is classroom management (procedures) so important for reducing discipline issues?
1) If you don’t have good classroom management, you will have (to a greater or lesser degree) chaos. You can’t teach someone to be SELF-disciplined in the midst of chaos. Simple as that!
2) The Discipline Without Stress approach itself is actually based on handling most discipline problems by helping the undisciplined students with procedures to keep themselves in control. It’s hard to help someone else create effective procedures if you aren’t doing it well yourself.
The foundation of the RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM (Part III of the DISCIPLINE WITHOUT STRESS TEACHING MODEL) is to be PROACTIVE by teaching procedures BEFORE problems occur. In fact, effective teachers don’t focus on … >>>
For many people, discipline is tough. And often, people seek out discipline help because they feel helpless in a situation—as if they have no choice in the discipline situation. (The youngster did this, which means I must react this way.) But the fact is that you always have a choice as to how you respond when a youngster makes a mistake or does something wrong. Choice makes discipline much easier.
Here are your choices: You can focus on the PAST, as in, “You should have been more careful!” Or you can focus on the FUTURE, as in, “Next time, what can we do so that your milk will not spill?” (Notice the use of the collaborative “we,” rather than “you.”)… >>>
People being controlled, whether young or old, have low motivation to carry out decisions IMPOSED on them. As a result, enforcement and maintaining that control is both difficult and time-consuming. This is very evident in schools where teachers spend so much classroom time “playing police” by using outdated discipline techniques that aim at enforcing rules, rather than by teaching procedures and inspiring responsible behavior. No wonder so many people are in need of discipline help!
Controlling people aims at obedience, and obedience is not the same as discipline. Except where the relationship is so strong that the person being controlled feels that the control is in his or her own best interest, control rarely brings either desire or commitment.
People seeking discipline help need to first understand the power of their mind and how it impacts their interactions with young people. Having a positive mindset is indeed a powerful discipline tool.
You probably remember learning about the seventeenth century French philosopher Rene Descartes, who asserted the supremacy of the mind over the body when he wrote: “I think; therefore, I am.” This philosophical concept suggested that the physical body is separate from the mind, and it set the stage for Western philosophy and medicine.
We now know, however, that mind and body are inseparable and act upon one another. Thoughts and feelings are inextricably linked to the way a body functions. Yet we are generally unaware of the countless … >>>
Here is a very effective approach for helping in discipline problems and in other situations.
Do this exercise: Smile for 60 seconds straight.
Just sit there and smile. Don’t do anything else.
Do you immediately sense a positive physical feeling inside you the very second you start to smile? Another thing you may notice is that you start thinking of fun times and enjoyable experience you have had.
It is impossible to feel “down” when you are smiling. If you are still doubting it, just try to get into a sour mood with a big grin on your face. You can’t do it.
The physiology of this is quite extraordinary. It is wired into us. In fact, if you thought … >>>
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