Respect God, Ourselves, Others & Things

Contribute to a Prayerful Learning Environment

Follow School & Classroom Procedures

Teach your child this rhyme, “If my eyes you cannot see, please don’t try to talk to me.” You can make posters and hang them around your home reminding you of this listening tip. Make the following efforts.

1. Avoid shouting at each other.

2. Before beginning a conversation, make sure you see the eyes of the person you are going to speak with.

Practice the art of Following Instructions with your children. Make it a game. First begin with having your child complete one task. As they are able to demonstrate mastery of both Listening and Following that Instruction, you can add more. For example: First take this doll to the top of the stairs. Next: Put this pencil in the drawer, then hang up your sweatshirt. This can be a fun and motivating way to clean up a room or accomplish any task.

**When you are giving your child instructions, it is important to limit them to 3 steps. Once those three steps have been accomplished, 3 new instructions can be given.

A great time to practice the skill of asking questions is at the dinner table. Invite family members to take turns asking a question to the person on the left. The question cannot be one that is answered with only “Yes” or “No”. Examples:

What did you do today that was important to you?

Where would you most like to go on vacation?

You could end the game with each family member sharing one fact they learned about a family member that they did not know.

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One of the things that can cause frustration as children become older is telephone etiquette. Below is a list of manners that other families have used. Have a family discussion and modify the rules to fit your household needs.

1. Telephone conversations, unless an emergency (life/death situation) will last no longer than 10 minutes for all members of the household.

2. When answering the phone, give a greeting and your name to let the caller know he/she has reached the correct number.

3. Don’t yell for the person who is wanted by a caller. “If my eyes you do not see, please don’t try to talk to me.” Go and get the person.

4. If you need to take a message, write it on the pad provided by the phone.

5. Ask the caller for the correct spelling of his/her name. Repeat back what you heard and wrote on the message pad to be sure it was correct.

6. When someone else is on the phone, avoid making loud noises or disturbances. Post the telephone rules by the phone. Periodically evaluate how they are going by discussing at a family meeting.


Depending on the size of your family, obtain a 50-75 piece puzzle. Divide the pieces so each person old enough to work the puzzle has an equal number. Do not look at the lid to see what the picture looks like. Ask each family member to predict how long it will take to put the puzzle together. When done, discuss:

1. Did it take all of us longer than it would have taken one of us?

2. Name three things we did as a group to cooperate on this task.

3. Name one way our family cooperates really well.

4. Name one thing our family could do better if we cooperated.

5. What would we have to change?

Make plans to make some of the changes and see if your family is able to develop the skill of cooperation.

With the help of your children, develop a consequence card. This card should list at least 3 consequences each child would be willing to do if they failed to follow one of the family rules. Select the rule you decide is the most important for everyone to follow. A typical card might look like this:

My Consequence Card:____________________________

When I break or forget to keep the rule:_______________
I will: 1. Do something for the person I offended.

2. Take someone else’s job to show I am sorry.

3. Give up my allowance for one week.

4. Give up __TV shows.

Each time the family rule is broken, the person must complete one of the consequences. If the rule is broken twice in one day, all consequences must be completed. Each day you start over. Courageous parents offer to carry a consequence card to demonstrate that the rules are there for everyone to follow.

Delegating power to children to do a job should be done carefully. When your child is ready to assume the responsibility of a new job, discuss it with him/her. Ask the following questions:

1. Do you think you can do this job as well as I could or better?

2. What is your plan for doing the job? List on paper.

3. Do you want the entire job or just a portion of it? Allow your children the opportunity to won the part of the job they feel secure in handling. Once your child has completed the job, evaluate how well the job was done.

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Siblings may not always choose the best way to deliver messages to one another. Hurtful words, putdowns, or insulting tones may be used. One way to teach children about they way they are communicating with each other is to ask them, “Was that message harmful or helpful?” You can also teach a child who is on the receiving end of a harmful message to use the word “Ouch.” Identifying the type of message they are sending is the first step in making certain that all their messages are helpful. It is important that children understand the message itself may not be harmful, rather the way in which they were delivering it.
Work with your children to help them recognize what they can accomplish in a given amount of time. Use the rule Age x 1 minute = amount of concentrated work time. (Example: 10 year olds= 10 minutes)

Give the child a designated task if they are 7 or younger. Let 8 year olds and older children pick the task they wish to use as an experiment. Ask them to:

1. Predict what they can get done in _____ minutes of concentrated work time.

2. Set the timer.

3. Allow time to work.

4. At the end of the time, talk about what was accomplished. Did it match the prediction?

5. Evaluate how well or poorly things were done.

6. Ask children to rate themselves on how well or poorly they used ____minutes of concentrated work time.

Rating System:

Superior–Accomplished much more than I predicted

Super–Accomplished more than I thought I would

Good–Know myself well and did what I thought I could

Poor–Didn’t do as much as I thought I could

Try Again–I need to do this over again to see if I can use
concentrated time better

Catch yourself before solving your children’s problems. When a problem arises between siblings and one or both come to you to solve it, stop yourself. Practice using some of these phrases:

1. “You have a problem. Have you thought about how you are going to solve it? Remember, you can’t solve a problem by creating a problem for someone else.”

2. “You must make a plan. Here is a pencil and paper. When you have figured out a way to solve this you may get up from the table.”

3. “Are you asking me to fix this or can you fix it yourself? If I fix it, these are some of the things I will do.” (Name at least 2 different ways to solve the problem.) Then, let the children decide what they will do. Never fix for children what they can fix for themselves.

An important step in taking the initiative to resolve problems is the ability to negotiate for what is desired. Negotiation can start at any age. The use of a simple contract can help children learn this skill. Contracts can be written when children want a privilege, to purchase something, or need help in tending to their assigned responsibilities. It might read:

I_________________will ask to use things that belong to others for ______days. When I accomplish this, I can ask to have a friend spend the night.

At the end of the period, evaluate the contract. Discuss:

1. Did the contract help? How?

2. Did you accomplish your goal? How can we work together to help you accomplish your goal?

3. Are there other problems at home we might use a contract to resolve?

When children in grades 4-8 come to adults with a problem, adults often will dismiss their concerns because we know through experience that with the passage of time, a concern may not seem like such a “Big Deal.” The next time your child has a concern, discuss:

1. The nature of the problem.

2. Why this is a concern.

3. Tell the facts about the issue rather than just give opinions.

4. Explore alternative ways of acting and thinking about the issue.

5. Let the decision to act be your child’s.

6. Tell them you understand this is a concern for them and that you hope they will figure out a way to handle it because of the discussion you have had.

7. Check back later to learn how your child decided to deal with the world as they view it.

One of the best ways to show the skill of making sacrifices is to give of your time to help others. With the help of all family members, make a list of activities that are in need of volunteer help. Then select one that the family would be willing to take on as a project. Once done, talk about what was learned or experienced in making the sacrifice of time.

All excerpts from Discipline With Purpose, Inc., 1997