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Tips for Discipline

1. Meet the needs of youth.
When young people are hungry, bored, overheated or frustrated expect problems. If your program is fast moving, interesting, and kids needs are met, problems are kept to a minimum.

2. Foster a warm, positive knowledgeable relationship with the youth.
When young people are anonymous they act out. When you know them (and their moms) there is more chance that they will treat you and your meeting place with respect. You can also determine the best ways to work with them when you know their interests and concerns.

3. Expect, anticipate, and plan for discipline problems.
Some teens will act out. Don’t be surprised. Every group needs a clear action plan that usually involves removing the student from the situation and speaking to them outside of the group. Never humiliate a student publicly.

4. Head off a problem before it becomes full blown.
Leaders dispersed among the students can see problems before they escalate into crises. They need to be trained to problem solve and redirect students into better ways to behave and relate to others.

5. Communicate rules and limits clearly.
Keep rules to the minimum but expect respect from students for leaders and other students. When students and leaders are clear on expectations everyone knows when lines are being crossed.

6. Uphold rules consistently.
Playing favourites or making allowances breeds frustration. When rules are applied fairly for all students they feel more positively about their group.

7. Discipline quietly, justly, lovingly and swiftly.
If behaviour can be addressed inconspicuously without disrupting the activity, students can enjoy themselves without noticing there was a problem.

8. Determine who will apply consequences.
For serious problems like fighting, bringing a weapon, or bullying it is best to have a designated person to make the hard call. Some groups will suspend a student for a week or two in these situations.

9. Follow up on youth who are disciplined.
Being at your group is a privilege. If a student has seriously abused this privilege by hurting another student, it is reasonable to remove them from the activity. A leader should meet with them before the next meeting to express love, to hear the students point of view, and restate what will be expected if they wish to return to the group.

10. Recognize the spiritual dimension of discipline.
Discipleship and discipline are closely connected. No good thing happens in disorder. Activities can be fun even hilarious but no one needs to get hurt in the process. In this way students learn to interact with peers and adults.

These tips came from Youth Ministry Unleashed