The Three R’s

According to B.F. Steere (1988), when dealing with children, one should not number more thatn 4-5 rules. There are three important criteria for these numbered rules; they should be reasonable, observable, and enforceable. The same goes for their consequences.

1. Reasonable: No outrageous rule nor consequence. “Let the discipline meet the crime.”

2. Observable: This means that you should be able to observe when the rule is being followed and when it is being violated. It cannot be something like “You need to be good all the time.” Well, what does being “good” mean? This rule is neither specific nor observable at all times.

3. Enforceable: Will you follow through with the consequence when it is violated? And, will the consequence modify behavior, reinforce self-control, or implement punishment?

Along with the above criteria, one must opt for choosing and Assertive Discipline system instead of an Aggressive Discipline system. These guidelines are for educators, but they are likely to work in one’s homes with some minor adjustments. REMEMBER that Rule are guidelines NOT set on stone.

The Aggressive teacher/parent “bullies” with threats and loud speech. These individuals lean towards punishment instead of consequences. Punishment is an arbitrary product of the individuals disdain for the child’s behavior, and may be ambiguous. Consequences are in direct correlation to the action not the person. While, the Assertive individual gives promises that are fulfilled each time a rule is violated. They are consistent with the consequence. Theya re do not ask rhetorical questions such as “Will you look at me when I talk to you?” They make calm but firm declarations as they enforce these rules of conduct. They never “loose it”. They show their audience how to react appropriately.

With this in mind, I’d like to add something I learned a couple of years ago. The following EQUATION (statement) may be applied to a school setting, the family, the church environment, and even our own personal relationship with God, if that is where we stand. It especially works well with teenagers. PARENTS: please take note of the following statement, understand it, apply it, and watch your relationship ship into a positive one with your teens!

Rules without Relationship will result in Rebellion.

Munch on that for a bit. This statement is directly proportional to Relationship. Meaning that when Rules are implemented WITH Relationship, the result should be Respect.


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