Avoid Arguments About Discipline
By the time children reach the upper elementary school grades, they have reached the age where they can reason. This can have its pros and cons.
Your child can understand that you expect good behavior, so it’s appropriate for you to explain the reasons for your rules. However, your child may also use emerging reasoning skills to argue with you—if you allow it.
To avoid power struggles:
- Offer one explanation. If your child asks to skip doing math today, explain that math builds on itself so it's important to stay caught up. If your student argues, just repeat your reasoning.
- Say yes whenever possible. The word no sparks arguments. Replace "No, you cannot go outside," with, "Yes, you can go outside as soon as you finish your schoolwork."
- Don’t offer choices when only one action is acceptable. For example, don’t ask if your child is ready for dinner. Simply say, "Dinner is ready. Please come to the table."
- Make it clear that you understand why your child may not want to do what you say. If your elementary schooler doesn’t want to stop playing after a break and resume doing schoolwork, say, "I know it’s frustrating to stop playing your game. But it’s time to study."
- Be consistent with consequences. Make sure your child knows what will happen as a result of misbehavior. Enforce the consequence every time. Lack of consistency teaches children that rules can be bent if they argue enough.
Brought to you by:
West Point Consolidated School District
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