Discipline is a Dirty Word – Part 1

Childhood Discipline

You have to accept the fact that you have enormous power to influence a child’s behavior.

Here’s how you can help a child to choose positive behavior.

Cooperative Discipline enables parents and or teachers to apply specific strategies to reach individual children.
One important tip to remember is that children choose their behavior, and we have power to influence—not control—their choices. The change starts with the adult; we need to learn how to interact with children so they will want to choose appropriate behavior and comply with the rules.

Here’s what you do to Identify the child’s behavior.  Usually, children misbehave because they want something—to be the centre of attention or to boss others around, for example. The first step in Cooperative Discipline is to pinpoint exactly what the child wants when he misbehaves. This approach to categorizing behavior was first proposed by psychologist Rudolf Dreikurs. Generally, children misbehave to reach one of these four goals.

  1. Attention: Some children choose misbehavior to get extra attention. They want to be center stage, so they distract parents,teachers and classmates to gain an audience and special recognition. Some typical behaviors include making noises, using foul language, and creating unnecessary interruptions during class time.
  2. Power: Some pupils/children want to be the boss—of them selves, the parent, the teacher, and sometimes the whole class. They want everything to be done their way. At the very least, they want to show others that “you can’t push me around.” These children are not likely to comply with rules. They will challenge and argue until they think they’ve had the “last word.”
  3. Revenge: Some children want to lash out to get even for real or imagined hurts. They may sometimes threaten physical harm or get indirect physical revenge by breaking, damaging, or stealing. They also may try to manipulate you into feeling hurt or guilty.
  4. Avoidance of failure: Some children feel inadequate because they believe they can’t live up to their own, their family’s, or their teacher’s expectations. To compensate, they behave in ways that make them appear inadequate, by procrastinating, not completing their work, or pretending to have a disability. These pupils hope that everyone will back off and leave them alone so they won’t have to face the fact that they aren’t performing up to their potential.

Does every misbehavior really have one of these four goals?

Of course not. No theory, no matter how complete, applies to every situation 100 percent of the time; yet these four goals can help you classify the misbehavior more than 90 percent of the time.




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