Saying things in a positive way—especially during a discipline situation—is a challenge! It requires discipline on your part, especially if you have a lot of negative responses from the past glued in your brain.
Before you respond to others in any way, take a breath and THINK first. It isn’t easy initially, but it does come more naturally once you force yourself to practice. One idea is to set a small goal for yourself. For example: Can you go for 30 minutes and respond with positivity to everything that happens (even negative things)? Taking the pause to consider what you’re going to say is the key!
Following are some questions that are successful with various types of youth and situations. Keep these questions handy as you work toward a more positive approach to discipline.
• Is this going to get you what you want?
• Is this going to move you forward or backward?
• What can I do to help you?
• Are you going to let this (situation, person, problem, setback, disappointment etc.) hold you back?
• Are you going to be able to rise above this _______ (situation, disappointment, etc.)?
• Look at _______’s face. How is he/she feeling right now as a result of (what you have done/said)?
• Are you making a friend or pushing a friend away?
• What would a ________ (mature, kind, reliable, responsible, extraordinary) person do now?
• Now that you’ve __________, how can you repair the situation?
• Think, when you _____________ what kind of a relationship are you creating with ________ (me? the Noon Hour Supervisor? other kids? the adults in the school?)?
• What kind of impression are you making on all the people here when you _______? Is this the impression you want to make?
• Can you picture yourself doing _______ (a very specific procedure)?
• When you __________ what pictures are you creating about yourself in the mind of your (friends? teachers? adults in our school?)?
• Is what you’re doing going to make you happy in the long run? Is there a happier choice?
• Here’s an opportunity for you to _____________ (act on a high level, try a new challenge, be a kind friend, show some initiative etc.).
• If you continue down this path of doing what you’re doing, what will likely happen/result?
• Does it feel as if we’re moving forward here, or does it feel as if we’re stuck? What would you have to do if you wanted to move forward in this situation?
• Would you be willing to try that again at a higher level?
• Would you like another opportunity to do that again at a higher level?
• Would you be kind enough to allow ________ the opportunity to try that again at a higher level?
• Is what you’re doing __________ (safe? on a high level? kind? appropriate? helpful? respectful?)?
• How might you feel if someone else did that to you?
• Who do you want to be in charge of you or have someone else boss you?
• Who do you want to be your boss?
• Think to yourself of someone in our class who generally operates on a very high level. What would that person do now in your situation?
• When a child is ready to give up too soon: If you feel you can’t do any more right now, when can you plan to do it?
• After someone has acknowledged Level B behavior: Do you want me to be a Level B teacher? What would a Level B teacher probably do now? Is this what you would like me to do? What can you do so that I don’t have to be a Level B teacher?