Consistency and Fairness in Discipline

Consistency is important when using discipline, but so is fairness. How does a parent resolve a situation where, for example, two siblings are fighting? The usual approach is to impose the same consequence on both parties. But is equality the same as fairness when it comes to discipline? What if one sibling is continually the instigator? Since one individual may have started the incident and since each person’s sensitivity is different, imposing the same consequence on all parties is the least fair approach.

A more effective and fairer approach for discipline is to elicit a consequence or a procedure from each individual to redirect impulses that will help each youngster become more responsible. Of course, if you think that the consequence or procedure suggested is not appropriate, not acceptable to you, or will not be successful, simply ask, “What else?” “What else?” “What else?” Repeat this question until you both agree.

So, the way to resolve this is to be consistent in your discipline approach, rather than focusing on the consequence.

To prove that this is fair and the most effective approach, just ask your children whether they would rather be treated alike or as individuals. They will readily have a preference to be treated as individuals and have ownership in the decision that will help them. By being consistent in the procedure of eliciting, you will be helping each child in the best way possible.