What’s the difference between discipline and punishment? Discipline is proactive while punishment is reactive. Discipline is accomplished as a result of setting clear expectations, understanding the consequences of not meeting those expectations, and the opportunity to choose to either honor the expectations or accept the consequences. It is also important to understand the difference between inappropriate behavior that is unacceptable because it is annoying, irresponsible, or disrespectful, and behavior that is unsafe and causes harm to others. Discipline plans and procedures need to accommodate these two very different behaviors. If a youth is causing harm to him/herself or others, he/she should be immediately sent to the Site Coordinator who will determine the appropriate course of action which could include a telephone conversation with the parent, asking that the parent pick the child up immediately, suspending the child from the program for 1-5 days, and communicating the incident to the principal. If the youth is being annoying, irresponsible, or disrespectful, then you will go through the established discipline procedure. In a Discipline Plan you have defined steps or consequences that will be administered if youth choose to not meet expectations. In determining consequences you should select only those that you can administer and monitor. For example, if you cannot suspend youth from the after school program, then suspension would not be one of the consequences on your list. Having youth help determine the consequences can be helpful if they have an understanding of what you can administer.
You must ensure that youth accept the responsibility of the choices made and the actions taken. When you talk with youth about the choices they make try the following:
· Keep the focus of your message on the student’s behavior;
· Be direct and specific, identifying the expectation and how that expectation was not met
· Use your normal voice and avoid hints of anger, pleading, and bargaining;
· Specify the consequences that will occur
· Support your words with effective action, honoring the choice the student had made for the consequence in lieu of meeting the expectation.
Check out Consult 4 Kids videos on Discipline