CMI - 7.30am
Rise & Shine (3 - 12 years old)

CMII - 9.30am
Kinders (18 months - 6 years old)
WKFC (7 - 10 years old)
Junior (11 - 12 years old)

CMIII - 11.30am
JC Kinders (18 months - 6 years old)
JC1 (7 - 10 years old)
JC2 (11 - 12 years old)

CMIV - 5.00pm
5 Loaves & 2 Fishes (3 - 12 years old) PSCom (Special needs children)

THE IMPORTANCE OF DISCIPLINE


mom--daughter.jpg

God disciplines us to help us, so we can become holy as He is (Hebrews 12:10b).

 

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11)


  The word 'Discipline' comes from the word 'Disciple'. Discipline is not meant to destroy the child but to build up. Our duty is to guide the children to live a Christ-like behavior and assure them that they are welcome and loved.
The best approach to discipline is to require ourselves (teachers/mentors) to understand the needs of children and prepare ourselves to meet those needs appropriately. This will stop most behaviour problems before they get started! We will need to always bear in mind that our children are God's children who deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.


A) Jesus and the Children

Jesus has shown us that children are never considered to be an inconvenience.

(Matthew 19:13-15) Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.

(Matthew 18:1-5) At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me."


We want to love children as Jesus did. We want to disciple them and help them establish a strong relationship with the Lord. We want our ministry to be filled with happy children full of energy, excitement and enthusiasm that are focused on the teachings.


B) Why Do Children Misbehave?

1. Ignorance of the rules - don't assume that they know the rules, it must be spelled out to them regularly. Consequences must be stated clearly and applied consistently.

2. Conflicting Rules - children come from a variety of home situations, and we should not assume that other authorities in their lives set the same standards as we do. It is important to be aware of the differences as we disciple the child.

3. Frustration - teacher's sour mood, getting picked-on, and difficult projects are factors that can cause frustration to mount.
4. Boredom - the opposite end of the spectrum from frustration. Lack of meaningful activities will bore them.  The needed ingredient here is relevance (to their lives, their needs, their interests, etc).

5. Sad - when a child is sad, it can lead to a lack of energy or motivation to follow.

6. Overly Excited - some children struggle to follow the rules when their energy is too highly engaged. This often leads to them getting labelled as difficult.


C) Seven Strategies for Effective Discipline

1. Respect & Expect
   Respecting children is the first step towards creating a positive learning environment and minimizing discipline issues.

  • Accept and value each child - This means continuing to give love and respect even though the child may not be likeable. Explain the wrong behaviours and correct the child firmly. Assure the child of your love to him no matter what.
  • Provide positive expectations - When you expect great things from the children, that's what you're likely to get. Treat them well and they will respond well.


2. Meet Children's Needs
   When children are happy emotionally, they will be able to handle challenges better.

  • Children need boundaries - With known boundaries, children can work better with a sense of security and empowered freedom.
  • Children need to understand consequences - It is important for them to experience the consequence of a crossed limit; and learn about forgiveness through confession.


3. Walk Your Talk

We must do what we preach, and not simply tell the children to behave in one way when we do the other.

  1. Impart Christian values - In order to impact lives, we need to first nurture ourselves spiritually and then nurture caring relationships with our children.
  2. Offer clear reasons for the rules - Children respond well to thoughtful explanation and reasoning.
  3. Use Scripture appropriately - explain biblical standards of behaviour to children and be sure they understand.
  4. The Golden Rule - Do to others what you want them to do to you (Matt 7:12a)


4. Provide Choices

Children are happier if they can make choices and this is also a part of the learning process. It teaches them to take responsibility for the decision they made.

  1. Choices lead to consequences not punishment - let the children learn that they are the ones who are responsible for their behavior, not us.
  2. The Important of Forgiveness - (Matt 6:14-15) For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Explain to the children that just as God forgives us; we also ought to forgive others.


5. Give Each Child Focused Attention

When talking to children, give them your full attention and listen to what they say.

  1. Feelings impact learning - How children feel about a group affects how and what they learn. As we teach, observe the children's responses, and try to do a self-evaluation after each session.
  2. Love your children - learn to show love and respect for each child through a variety of love languages
  3. Plan focused attention - study your lesson well enough so that you can actually put your notes down and look into the eyes of one child at a time as you teach. Every one of God's children deserves to have someone who is irrationally positive about him/her.


6. Give Children Their Wings

As a child grows and matures, our role changes. We must gradually step back and allow children greater freedom to choose and fail. Teachers who wisely step back from the role of authority figure to that of mentor and friend will build cherished, life-changing relationships with their children.

7. Take Joy

Don't worry about discipline problems, they will always be there and we are not alone. Take the problem behaviours as clues to help us know the children better that we may disciple them more effectively.

Discouragement happens - don't give up. Take joy when you have put in your best effort to help them. Take joy when you meet their emotional needs. Take joy when you gain their trust. Take joy when you see your children take a step towards developing a personal relationship with God. Take joy knowing that you've helped the children in your care learn to know, love and follow Jesus.


TYPES OF DISCIPLINE


A) Preventive Discipline
Preventive discipline techniques provide a safe, comfortable and fair place for children to learn about God. The wise teacher will implement as many preventive measures as possible as a way to stop discipline problems before they start. This is what it means by training children and discipling them, rather than simply handing out punishment when they don't act the way we think they should.

Discipline Do's and Don'ts

  1. Do create a loving atmosphere where children feel accepted 'just the way they are'
  2. Do be realistic in your expectations - of the child and yourself
  3. Do be fair and consistent.
  4. Do grant respect to gain respect
  5. Do rely on the power of prayer
  6. Don't use threats you can't or won't carry out!
  7. Don't label, shame or blame a child
  8. Don't be late to class
  9. Don't come to class unprepared
  10. Don't handle severe problems alone


B) Remedial Discipline
No matter how well-prepared you are, no matter how faithfully you love and pray for your children, no matter how thoroughly you understand the philosophy of discipline and discipling, there will be trying moments in your classroom. So expect them - Children will be children and teachers are just human. So here's what to do.

Respond, don't react
When we react, we are in the flesh. Learn to respond in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Christian version of counting to ten - move slowly toward the child and pray as you go!

Be empathetic
Approach the child with the desire to know what's going on in his or her mind so that you can help. This respectful direction helps most children take responsibility for their actions.

Don't take it personally
An episode of acting up may be the result of what happened in the child's life an hour or a day before you came into contact with him or her.

Treat the child with respect
Your role is to build up the child; deal with the child individually.


Cover situation with prayer

  • Prayer - This is obviously the most important discipline (both preventive & remedial) tool of all, but it is easily overlooked. The children in our care are God's children. The work is God's and we are merely His tools. When we pray, we open ourselves to change and we will begin to have a purpose for the time spent with them. Our patience and love for them will grow!
  • Acknowledgment: This write up is summarised and adapted from chapter 1 and 4 of Jody Capehart, Gordon West & Becki West's book "The Discipline Guide for Children's Ministry" Published by Group Publishing 1997