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Creating a Discipline Plan- Two Approaches

By: Chris Theisen

Disciplining a child without a plan is like making a fancy casserole with no recipe. Without a bit of insight and a great deal of luck, each can leave a bad taste in your mouth.

Creating a discipline plan is much easier than one might expect. There are a variety of ideas and tools that parents can use to effectively improve behavior, enforce rules, and provide structure. A good discipline plan will be clearly stated and in writing. Children need to know what their expectations are as well as the consequences for failing to meet those expectations.

Two of the more effective ways of establishing an effective discipline plan is to enforce a behavior contract or utilize a behavior chart. Each of these discipline tools will provide your child with a tangible and predictable set of expectations and consequences.

A behavior contract is essentially an agreement between a child and his or her parents that details the behavioral expectations of the child. It also identifies potential rewards and/or consequences that the child will get based on his or her ability or willingness to meet those expectations. A good behavior contract will possess the following traits:

1) it will be fair to both parties
2) it will be clearly written and easy to understand
3) it will be enforceable
4) and it will be firmly and consistently followed.

Another type of discipline plan is that of a behavior chart. A behavior chart is basically a visual aid that lists a child's behavior expectations and/or tasks that must be completed. When a child successfully meets an expectation or completes a task, then a check is placed in the appropriate place under the specific day of the week that is was done (or met). A good behavior chart will possess the following traits:

1) it will be placed in a highly visible location
2) it will be colorful or personalized to appeal to the child
3) it will list the expectations clearly but briefly
4) and it will identify the rewards that will be earned for success.

Implementing either of these discipline plans (or behavior management tools as I like to call them) should bring a higher level of structure and consistency to your child's daily regimen. You'll probably find that behavior charts tend to work well with younger children, while behavior contracts are more effective with older children and teenagers.

You can find an excellent set of behavior contracts and other discipline tools at either of these locations: parentcoachplan.com ¦ behavior-contracts.com ¦ teenbehaviorcontracts.com

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