The Well-Behaved Child: Discipline That REALLY Works! – Post 4 (by Ashley Stevens)

Imagine you are at a college football game and a foul is committed. The referee says to the offending player, “This is the last warning I’m going to give you. Next time, you’ll lose yards!” While I’ve watched my fair share of bad calls, if referees didn’t call fouls as they see them, games would quickly devolve into chaos.

Dr. John Rosemond uses this analogy in The Well-Behaved Child to show that most parents deal with disciplinary situations much like this referee: “Instead of simply and matter-of-factly calling the fouls and assessing the penalties, parents are prone to warn, threaten, give second chances, assess punishments but fail to follow through, and make deals.”

He goes onto say that using this “Referee’s Rule” and calling the fouls consistently when we discipline brings greater certainty into our children’s lives.

Two Halloweens ago, my oldest girl racked up enough checks (see my previous post) by lunch time to lose dessert for the day. While I was sad she wouldn’t be able to enjoy a few of her favorite candies, after reading this book I knew if I made an exception to the rule that night, my discipline credibility would be undermined.

Two Halloweens ago, my oldest girl racked up enough checks (see my previous post) by lunch time to lose dessert for the day. While I was sad she wouldn’t be able to enjoy a few of her favorite candies, after reading this book I knew if I made an exception to the rule that night, my discipline credibility would be undermined.

Two Halloweens ago, my oldest girl racked up enough checks (see my previous post) by lunch time to lose dessert for the day. While I was sad she wouldn’t be able to enjoy a few of her favorite candies, after reading this book I knew if I made an exception to the rule that night, my discipline credibility would be undermined.

If I had let her eat dessert “just that one time,” she would always wonder if I would follow through on taking the privileges away if she whined again. The next morning, she dug in.

Doing the same thing every time a child misbehaves, as in this Halloween case, is one form of consistency. But Rosemond points out rules can also be enforced consistently without doing the same thing every time a misbehavior occurs. In other words, parents have more options than referees when it comes to enforcing the rules.

For example, he recommends a “Consequence Lottery” for low misbehavers where five to ten consequences are written on slips of paper in a jar. When the child misbehaves, they draw a consequence from the jar. Using the lottery method, parents can be creatively “inconsistent,” but the targeted misbehavior still consistently merits a consequence.

Sometimes, though, if you are on a trip or away from home, the consequences can’t be given to the same extent. A child, for instance, can’t be sent to their room. While it may be harder to be consistent in these cases, check out the book for Rosemond’s easy fix when consequences have to be delayed.

In whatever discipline approach you use, if your children have no doubt that you mean what you say and will follow-through with the consequences, Rosemond argues, they will commit less fouls. Being consistently intolerant of misbehavior will help our kids understand that we will accept nothing less than good behavior in all circumstances.

Discipline is never easy, but it’s essential to raising healthy, happy kids. The Well-Behaved Child shows parents how to use commanding communication, compelling consequences, and confirming consistency in tandem with one of Rosemond’s seven essential discipline approaches.

Using one of his tools has made me much saner, more assured, and consistent as I discipline my children and has given them greater motivation to behave. I’d encourage you all to check it out!

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