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Following The 5 C’s of Effective Discipline

“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord . . .” Col. 3:23

Clarity: Be clear when you set rights, rules and limits.

  • Don’t assume your children know family rules until you’ve talked about them.
  • Be sure your children understand why these rules are being made and the consequences for breaking the rules.
  • When possible, involve your children in making the rules. Discipline will be more effective if your children have had a part in establishing the rules.
  • Try writing out your family rules and posting them on the refrigerator.

Consistency: Be consistent in enforcing rules.

  • Stick to the consequences that have been established for a broken rule.
  • If a change needs to be made in a family rule, talk about it with the family before the rule is broken.
  • Be flexible. As your children grow, they are ready for expanding rights and changes in rules and limits.

Communication: Talk about rights, rules and limits often.

  • Be willing to discuss the fairness of a rule and the reasons for it.
  • Help your children learn to talk with you about feelings.
  • Encourage your children to come to you when they need help.
  • Express respect and faith in your children through your words, gestures and tone of voice.

Caring: Use encouragement and support, not just discipline when rules are broken.

  • Praise your children when they follow your family rules, especially when they do what’s expected of them without reminders from you.
  • When a rule is broken, appropriately criticize the child’s behavior without condemning the child.
  • Follow up swiftly when a rule is broken; stay calm and carry out the consequences your children expect.
  • Respect your children’s rights; we should treat others as we like to be treated.

Create: Instill a sense of responsibility.

  • Let your children know you expect moral behavior like honesty and fairness.
  • Set an example of honesty, fairness and social responsibility for your children to follow.
  • Promote your children’s sense of self-respect by providing opportunities to practice honesty, fairness and responsibility.

Adapted from the Common Sense tip sheet from the National PTA.