ABC’s of Discipline


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I picked up something somewhere about parenting that really works. I wish I could credit the concept to whomever created it. If I understand correctly, think of it as something like the ABC’s of Discipline. A-is the Antecedent or the precursor to B- a child’s Behavior (acting out) which leads to a parent doling out the C-Consequence.

Parents become reactionary and often jump straight to C, because they don’t identify the Antecedent, and only see the Behavior. I’m not sure that’s effective. What works for me and my son, Miles, is to nip things in the bud when he starts to misbehave in a consistent way, so he always knows what to expect.

What works for me and Miles is if he starts to misbehave, I recognize it and let him know he’s in “A-mode.” He can then choose if he wants to continue to act on his Behavior which always leads to Consequences, because he understands how the ABC’s works. Rarely does Miles ever get to C-mode since I’ve deployed the strategy. On the rare occasion that Miles gets himself in “B-mode” and continues to act on his behavior; I very clearly look him in the eyes and say, “Would you like to go to C-now?” That question always backs him right up to A-mode, and the behavior ends.
(He’s no dummy. Consequences are never fun!) I think the whole thing works because a child has real control over what he wants to do next. Miles always wants to roll back to A-because don’t we all wish for a “do-over” sometimes?

Thanks for the ear,

Tonia Allen Gould

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