What to do When a Child Chooses Level A Behavior

When using the Discipline Without Stress Hierarchy, you will sometimes run into a child who likes to challenge you. For example, upon learning the various levels, the child may say, “I like being on Level A. I don’t want to be on Levels C or D.”

When this occurs, what is an adult to do? How do you help the child move past this challenging behavior without resorting to a coercive discipline approach?

The key is to let the child know (in a positive voice and demeanor) that it is her choice to act on Level A, and when she chooses that level, that means she wants you to boss her. Explain that a person acting on Level A needs to be bossed because she is not mature enough to follow directions. A person acting on Level A is a victim and not in control.

Then say, “I have seen how capable you are, but if you want me to boss you, that is your decision. I will do what you are asking.”

With that said, immediately move away from the child so she can reflect on the situation.

If the child continues to act on Level A, keep with this same dialog. She will soon change her mind.

Notice that with this approach you have employed all three principles of this discipline system:
1. You have been positive with the child both in your voice and by your assertion of her capability.
2. You have given her a choice.
3. You have prompted her to reflect.

  1. I have tried this approach on a child of 14 years when she misbehaved and even used wild language with a teacher. The management was ready to suspend her and not look at any other option. However at my own risk, I insisted on keeping the child in school and took the responsibility myself to improve the situation. The first thing was that I told her was to mend her ways to bring a change in her behavior and give a written apology to the teacher, apart from saying it verbally. I explained to her that it’s a matter of choice. If she wants to move ahead with positivity, it will reflect her good behavior. Then I asked her to come to me every day in break time, where I encouraged her to help me out with minor paper work that was non-confidential. She felt important to herself. I could see the visible change. I also kept reminding her how her behavior could affect other junior students. She is still working on improving her attitude. Believe me honest intention pays off!I am using the various Levels of Anarchy with just a little problem. Here in our Report Cards students are given A, B, C or D for character analysis in the reverse order. So this becomes a bit confusing for our smaller students, I’m trying to overcome this state of affair, though!

  2. This is not a problem if explained properly. When do you spell to, or too, or two? It all depends on the context–just like so many words in English.
    Using 4 letters in grading has nothing to do with using the same letters as a shortcut to explain levels of social development. Even very young students never get confused between the same letters in different contexts when explained properly; however, present company excluded, many adults THINK kids will get confused.