By this I mean that it’s important to learn the circumstances of the situation as you discipline. Despite how you might feel in the heat of the moment, most children aren’t acting out just to make your day more difficult! Children are responsible for their actions and need to accept the consequences, but it is your job to find out what lead to the outburst. Discipline is not about punishment; it’s about discipleship. The child may have heavy things going on at home or be dealing with difficult situations at school. Take the time to talk with the child and give them ways of dealing with their feelings that are acceptable.
2. Always handle discipline in private.
Don’t embarrass the child by reprimanding them in front of the other kids.
This doesn’t mean being alone with the child. It means showing respect by speaking with the child off to the side and not in front of the other kids.
3. Discipline out of love, not anger.
If you are angry, give yourself a time out before you deal with the issue. Discipline that is handled in the heat of the moment when you are not in control of your emotions is not true discipline. If you are angry, you are not in a position to offer a child effective discipline. Remember, it’s not punishment, but discipline.
When you discipline out of love, rather than anger, you are training in a way that will mold character, behavior, and values.
4. Make sure the child understands why they are being disciplined.
Most children know exactly what they did! However, there are times when kids don’t know what they did that was wrong. They may be so focused on one thing that they do not realize that their actions resulted in hurt bodies or hurt feelings. When you discipline a child, ask them if they can tell what they did that was wrong. Remember, you are training to mold character and behavior.
5. Give kids a chance to make things right.
Part of the discipline process should be the opportunity to apologize. If a child has hurt another child, they should be encouraged to apologize. If a child has stolen an item they should be encouraged to return it. Whenever possible, give kids the chance to apologize and make things right. In your discussion, talk about how and when they might make things right with the person they have wronged.
6. Always welcome them back to the group.
Children need to know that we love them and care for them no matter what. This doesn’t mean that we ignore issues that arise. It means that we deal with them and then move on. Welcome the child who has been disciplined back to the group.