There’s this funny thing that happens when friends come to our house for the first time. Often they take out their phones to snap a picture of a piece of paper I have posted in various places throughout the house. That paper is our discipline chart.
There’s nothing magical or pretty about it. When our two newest were placed with us, we wanted a visual for us and our kids to help everyone know discipline that would be given when needed. It was also helpful to show this to their case worker to make sure she approved of our methods.
The first two levels on our chart are far less about consequences than about helping the child regain focus. Oftentimes when a kid is acting out, they simply need to sit somewhere quietly to take a break, or oppositely, they need to burn some excess energy. So we tend to start here, especially in cases of self-control. Many times, that’s all that’s needed to get him back on track.
Journaling is listed on most of them, though that makes me smirk because we’ve actually required our kids to do it maybe twice. Don’t be jealous of our consistency. We do like the concept, though, so we keep it on the sheet in hopes that someday-maybe we’ll be good parents. The idea is to have them copy a passage of scripture and answer simple questions to be grounded in truth about the heart issue they’re struggling with.
As far as the other levels:
- Loss of privilege is simply what it sounds like–not being able to do something you would normally have done. This could be watching a movie with the family, going to a special event, etc, for a short period of time.
- If our kids have finished all their work for the day, they get 30 minutes of screen time. Which can also be taken away.
- After dinner, kids who have eaten well get a small treat. Regardless of eating habits, though, we’ll snatch that cookie right out of your mouth if needed.
- On top of daily chores, our kids can opt to do a paid chore, usually involving cleaning or yard work. If they reach this level, we’ll give them extra unpaid chores: same chores but without the moolah.
- We try to give our children friend time at least once a week. That can go, too.
- They can lose a toy, one they love, for a longer stretch of time or, in extreme circumstances, permanently.
- Community service is hours determined by us to do work around the house/neighborhood. Seems fun at first, then the hatin’ it happens.
We certainly don’t use this list as a dogmatic form for parenting but more as a bucket list of ideas to use alongside
belittling and yelling at them gospel instruction. Sometimes we skip straight to a lower level, sometimes we combine a few. Most things in life are gray, and what helps motivate a child once may not work again.
The Spirit is the one who changes hearts, not you and not me. Our ultimate goal with discipline should never be to “force a child to behave how you want them to.” Rather it should be a tool to teach them the folly of sin and point them to the only one who never disobeyed. And if you’re good at that, you can guest blog for us, cause we most certainly aren’t.