In a provocative article, What If Everything You Knew About Disciplining Kids Was Wrong?, Katherine Reynolds Lewis demonstrates how research supports a needed change in our traditional disciplinary tactics used in school.
Lewis states, "University of Rochester psychologist Ed Deci…found that teachers who aim to control students' behavior—rather than helping them control it themselves—undermine the very elements that are essential for motivation: autonomy, a sense of competence, and a capacity to relate to others. This, in turn, means they have a harder time learning self-control, an essential skill for long-term success.”
What’s more, children with learning disorders are usually the kids who are most often punished. “In a 2011 study that tracked nearly 1 million schoolchildren over six years, researchers at Texas A&M University found that kids suspended or expelled for minor offenses…were three times as likely as their peers to have contact with the juvenile justice system within a year of the punishment. Kids with diagnosed behavior problems such as oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and reactive attachment disorder…were the most likely to be disciplined. Which begs the question: Does it make sense to impose the harshest treatments on the most challenging kids? And are we treating chronically misbehaving children as though they don't want to behave, when in many cases they simply can't?”
Lewis further argues that “focusing on problem solving instead of punishment is now seen as key to successful discipline.”
Want to learn more? Here are a couple books recommended in the article:
Contributed by Reeba Miller, Youth Tutoring Program