Why Contingencies are a Positive Discipline Technique

Practicing the principle of positivity improves relationships, increases effectiveness in influencing others to change their behaviors, and makes discipline much easier.

Negative comments engender negative attitudes. Consequences (the usual discipline technique) are usually perceived negatively, and they do not change the way a youngster wants to behave. Additionally, announcing consequences ahead of time is often counterproductive with young people because it focuses on the consequences, rather than on the desired behaviors. Plus, such information encourages certain types of students to push until the limit is reached. If a consequence is necessary, a more effective approach is to elicit the consequence—which should be reasonable, respectable, and related to the situation.

Positive comments, on the other hand, engender positive attitudes. People who are effective in influencing others to positive actions phrase their communications in positive terms. Contingencies, unlike consequences, promise with the positive and place the responsibility on the young person, where it belongs. Additionally, positivity brings hope, which is a cousin of optimism. Positivity results in fostering others to feel valued, enthusiastic, supported, respected, motivated, challenged, capable, and proud.

Use contingencies rather than consequences and you’ll find that you really can discipline without stress.