Thursday, November 10, 2011

Consequences: The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly: 4th in Series


Every action causes a reaction. Use praise and positive reinforcement when good behavior occurs and this will shape desired behavior. Take away privileges when inappropriate or disruptive behavior occurs and fewer unwanted episodes will occur. Withdrawing privileges is a behavior shaper where you will always have plenty of options. Losing privileges will work if it is part of a pre-agreed behavior management strategy. In other words, make the rules and state the consequences before episodes occur.

If we shelter children from consequences and distort true cause and effect, children rarely become accountable. Instead, they become confused and go through life blaming someone else for their misfortune and “bad luck.” Enforced consequences motivate children to develop self-control. Learning self control, and how to interact respectfully with others, supports children’s self esteem and benefits society in general.


Consequences do not need to be dehumanizing, demeaning, humiliating, or full of nagging and scolding. Remain calm and remember you are the role model and example of good behavior. Three questions to ask when delivering a consequence are:
Discipline Series by a Teacher and a Parent
  • Is it justified?
  • Is it respectful?
  • Is it reasonable?
Kindergarten teachers may have more than twenty 5 and 6 year olds in the room. They have a responsibility to teach. A disruptive child interrupts the learning of well-behaved children. It may be necessary to put a misbehaving child away from other children. Usually, after a short time, the child will let you know that he/she wants to rejoin the group. A bean bag or large pillow can work wonders. Some wise teachers have a large pillow in a quiet corner where a child knows they can take out their frustrations—or perhaps take a much needed nap.

Sometimes misbehavior occurs during special areas when a student is with another teacher. If recess time is to be taken away, time out should ideally be one minute for each year of the child’s age. Be sure the child understands why he/she is in time out since the occurrence of the inappropriate behavior was earlier in the day. I don’t think it is a good idea to take away the entire recess time because children need physical exercise to release stress and frustration. Always send a note home explaining the behavior and the consequence. If extreme misbehavior has occurred, a trip to the office may be warranted. Be sure and document in case the child might qualify for school counseling or for special education testing. Send notes home requiring a signature and place them in the child’s folder.

Teachers: Be prepared. When children arrive at school, they should know they will find affectionate care, reasonable order, security, and an interesting day—qualities that help children be good and develop self-control. Children need time to be creative, express themselves in play, and learn social skills. They need physical exertion to release stress and to relax.

Through their play and storytelling, children make sense of the world and
learn the most important rules of living in a democratic society — 

how to listen to one another and treat one another with
fairness and kindness.  ~Vivian Paley

Exercising releases stress and builds strong bodies and minds.
Parents: It is important to support a teacher in reasonable discipline. Consistency; established routines and rules; and stability at home will reinforce good behavior and increase a child’s sense of security and self-esteem. Be a good role model and show a child how to act. They will imitate you because they live with you and they love you. Parenting is a huge responsibility but it becomes easier the more you establish love, trust, and stability. Enjoy your children. They look up to you.

While other institutions, such as church and school, can assist parents to 
“train up a child in the way he should go”  - ultimately this
responsibility rests with parents.  ~  L. Tom Perry

Series of Discipline Posts

What kind of discipline techniques have worked for you?
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  1. Susan, I love your blog. I am here visiting from MomLoop Friday Follow ... I too posted on my blog about discipline today: (

    As a mom of a kindergarten I will definitely be revisiting to catch up and follow!

    1. Thank you so much PlayDrMom. You have an amazing blog. Your discipline post was excellent.

  2. I wish you'd keep posting more discipline series! I always learn so much from them! I really do try to be consistent, but sometimes it's so hard!! Thanks for the tips!!

    1. Thank you Mommy with Selective Memory! It is hard to be consistent - but important. And sometimes you just have to be flexible. Discipline is a hard one for everybody - including in the classroom.

  3. Love this, it can be so hard to know what to do when your child is in the midst of a tantrum. for me, the hardest thing of all is simply not to lecture. We use consequences a lot, as much as possible, I try to make them natural. It becomes even harder as they become teenagers.

    1. Thank you Patty Ann. It sure is easier to discipline before teenage years. And very important. Thank you for visiting.