Cooperative Discipline enables Adults to apply specific strategies to reach children. One important tip to remember, is that children choose their behaviour, 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 behaviour and comply with the rules.
Usually, children misbehave because they want something. 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 4 goals. Does every misbehaviour 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 misbehaviours more than 90 percent of the time.
Attention: Some children choose misbehavior to get extra attention.
Power: Some Children want to be the boss. They want everything to be done their way. They will challenge and argue with Adults until they think they’ve had the “last word.”
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.
Avoidance of failure: Some Children feel inadequate because they believe they can’t live up to 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 Children 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.
Deal with the misbehavior immediately
After you have categorized the misbehavior, choose a specific intervention for dealing with that type of behaviour.
Provide some encouragement
Cooperative Discipline assumes that Children will misbehave again if the strategies are not accompanied by encouragement techniques that build self-esteem and strengthen the child’s motivation to cooperate and learn. Encouragement techniques are neither time-consuming nor difficult to learn. Commit to using them daily and the child will feel like valued. Strategies for encouraging children fall into three categories:
Capable: Children need to feel capable of completing their task.
Create an environment where it’s okay to make mistakes.
Build confidence by focusing on improvement and on past successes.
Make your learning objectives reachable for all children.
Connect: Children need to believe they can develop positive relationships with teachers and classmates. How?
Give attention by listening and show interest
Show appreciation by praise or written notes
Use affirmation statements
Build affectionate relationships with simple acts of kindness.
Contribute: Children need to contribute to the community. How?
Involve them in maintaining the environment.
Ask for suggestions when decisions need to be made.
These are just a few points to help in developing a child. Remember keep this simple and stick to the boundaries that you commit too.