Options and Discipline

Giving three options works wonders in just about any situation.

For example, let’s assume your airline flight has been delayed and you finally get to your hotel room at midnight. But because it is so late, the hotel clerk informs you that your hotel room has been given to another guest.

Rather than get angry, tell the clerk that the hotel has three options: (1) give you one of the suites they reserve for their special guests at the rate originally given you, (2) pay for the transportation AND room charges for another hotel that they arrange, or (3) call the general manager of the hotel. The result: You will be given one of the hotel’s special rooms for the amount of your original reservation.

In terms of discipline, here is how the practice of giving three option can be applied with a student in a classroom who continually misbehaves: “You have three options: (1) explain to your parent over the phone what you have done, (2) have your parent come to school for a conference, or (3) develop a procedure to be in control so the next time you get that same urge, you won’t be a victim of your impulses.

Which option do you think the child being disciplined will choose?

This approach of giving three options can be used with anyone and in any situation. Of course, it takes practice. The way to do it is to regularly ask yourself, “What three options can I present in this situation?”

Try it and watch how classroom discipline becomes much less stressful.