Dishing out discipline and consequences for breaking the rules

Two girls gossiping on their phone

Dishing out discipline and consequences for breaking the rules

This week’s blog will follow on from the last topic of self-discipline but focus more on the actual discipline and consequences dished out for breaking the rules.

“Noo” I hear you cry! Rules are meant for breaking TeeJay. We don’t like rules. Rules are for wimps and people who don’t know how to have a good time! I’m chuckling as I write this because, as a youngster, as a teenager, or any age for that matter, there will always be sets of rules that you don’t agree with – but that you still should abide by.

 

“Effective discipline is based on loving guidance.” Peggy O’Mara

 

Playing the rules of the game

Rules are made for a reason and that reason is in your best interests. Rules aren’t purposely made to be annoying, boring or to prevent you from doing something. Even if you feel this way about a set of rules, they were still created to guide and help you, to keep you safe and to set you on the right track.

Picture a ‘keep out’ or ‘no trespassing’ sign clinging to a high fence that marks the perimeter of an old derelict property. The place looks scary, possibly haunted (if you believe in that sort of thing) and you might be curious to take a peek on the other side of the fence. But those measures have been put in place for safety purposes. 

The building might contain asbestos (a toxic substance contained within the structure of old building walls and ceilings) and be likely to crumble, or include dangerous materials, sharp pipework and basically anything that could cause serious injury. I know it’s tempting to venture in – temptation has a strong lure to adults as well as teens – but it is an unsafe environment and the rules are in place to protect you from getting hurt.

 

Rules indicate what’s right and what’s wrong

Rules are created for a number of different reasons. They could be the laws of the land set to maintain order, respect and equality. To avoid discrimination and to discipline bad behaviour as a way of reform. Rules help to protect people, the countryside and wildlife, help to preserve heritage, customs and history, and even enable inventions for the future. 

Some laws ensure morality by creating boundaries for healthy, safe relationships between family and friends, education, employment, sport and social circumstances. 

Without rules people would do anything without a care for anyone or anything and there would be chaos. It wouldn’t even be organised chaos!

 

Consequences need to be appropriate, proportionate and painful

If rules are broken there are consequences as a result of the poor actions or behaviours that have taken place. Consequences should be appropriate, proportionate and painful in order for you to learn from the mistakes made and to understand what the impact of breaking the rules means.

I’m not talking about a physically painful consequence like a punch in the face or no food for two days. That would just be hurtful, vicious and completely unnecessary. I’m referring to consequences that are in place to deter the rule-breaker from repeating their actions and to guide them to making better choices should they face the same situation again.

  • Learn a valuable lesson
  • Modify behaviour
  • Develop new positive behaviours
  • Gain respect
  • Understand responsibility

There are so many positives that can come from rules and consequences because you gain an appreciation for why different rules are needed in different circumstances. You will benefit from any support offered to become phenomenal in the future because you have learnt from the experience. And you will understand the rules for the future – for when you need to implement rules yourself with your own children, or in your career. The rules of the house are just as important as the rules of the land and morality. Do your chores and be kind to your siblings Oh and for the parents reading, please think of something more creative than taking your child’s phone away or switching off the internet for every consequence! 

Remember, dishing out discipline and consequences for breaking the rules needs to be appropriate, proportionate and painful in order for it to create change.

 

“Discipline is helping a child solve a problem. Punishment is making a child suffer for having a problem. To raise problem solvers, focus on solution not retribution.” L.R. Knost

No Trespassing sign in front of an old building
What if your own rules were broken?

What would you do if a friend hurt you by spreading rumours or your partner cheated on you? It’s important to think about your own rules and the standards and values by which you live. The boundaries you choose to create must be firm and followed. If not, then you will be seen as someone who makes hollow threats and doesn’t carry through the consequences. In the eyes of the other person you have given them permission to be hurtful to you in some way by breaking your rules. 

Remember this…if you get rewarded for bad behaviour by having no appropriate, proportionate or painful consequences then this becomes conditioned in your thoughts and behaviour. In turn, this becomes a habit, which is a dangerous place to be in – for you and the person behaving inappropriately. 

 

“The best leaders are gentle. In our culture, we have been misled to believe that the tougher we are, the more respect we will gain, but that is simply not true. What we gain by being tough is fear, and fear is not respect. Respect is gained by giving it away.” Rebecca Eanes

 

What would be your discipline and consequences?

If someone you thought was a friend was saying bad and untruthful things behind your back, would you let them get away with it? If you choose to do nothing, what you are actually saying is ‘it’s OK to lie about me, please go ahead and lie some more!’ 

I’m not saying you need to physically reprimand this so-called friend, but they need to understand the impact of their deception. It may be that you end your friendship, report them to a teacher or stand up to them and correct them in front of the whole class. Your rules, your choice, but you remain the one in control and the one who maintains respect, integrity and value.

 

“Boundaries and discipline, when offered non-punitively and in the context of empathy and respect, are gifts we should feel proud of and one of the highest forms of love.” Janet Lansbury

 

Choose the life you want to lead

Rules are in place for good reason. When you view them in a positive light for the benefits of health, safety, compassion, responsibility and all the other well-intended reasons they stand for, it will improve your entire behaviour towards rules and discipline – hey, you may never need to be disciplined again! 

Please do share your thoughts around this topic on social media or leave your comments below. 

Have you ever been on the wrong side for breaking the rules? What did you learn from the consequences you had to endure? Everything that happens is meant to be a lesson in life and it’s a choice as to how you act.All that remains to be said is to avoid the consequences by being amazing and abiding by the rules

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