Classroom Discipline Tips for Children & Youth Workers, Sunday School & Other Bible Teachers

Be careful you aren't reinforcing negative behavior.

Children need security, belonging, and a sense of esteem. The foundation for their emotional stability, however, is in many cases shakened or even destroyed by the breakdown of the family. Divorce, dysfunction in the home, and working parents are contributing factors.

Many of the behavioral problems stem from children who, as a result, are wounded, hurting, crying out for attention, lonely, feeling neglected, angry, deserted, and perhaps guilty over the part they feel they must have played in their family situation.
These needy children seem to be found in increasing number in the classrooms of today's churches. Some are withdrawn but many will do what they must to vie for your love and attention. Negative attention is better than no attention.

To maintain order you address their misbehavior and that is proper. However, you begin to feel like all you are doing is crowd control. You can't make progress with the lesson because you must constantly stop to correct the children.
What's the problem? What else can you do? You feel as though you've exhausted every tactic.
The problem may be that you are unintentionally reinforcing negative behavior. If the only time needy children get your undivided attention is when they misbehave, plan on getting more and more misbehavior.
Evaluate how you can restructure your class time to include individualized attention. Incorporate sharing times into your session or bring in helpers who can focus in on specific needs. Verbally acknowledge appropriate behavior. Too often we concentrate on what they are doing wrong and fail to affirm them for the good.
Today's children need more than a well-constructed lesson. They need you to show that you care, to interact with them, to let them know they are important and belong. They also need you to enforce boundaries. Just watch you don't police them more than you positively affirm them.

(Last updated 11/01/14)

For more training to help you with Classroom Discipline:

Handbook on Classroom Discipline      Effectively Handling Classroom Discipline Workbook

Biblical Authority versus the Authoritarian and Permissive Teachers Worksheet

Learn the difference between Biblical Authority versus the Authoritarian and Permissive Teachers Worksheet and the implications for your teaching.

Discipline Issues

Think through the challenges, causes, corrective measures, and ways to circumvent 56 different discipline issues using the one page sheets in the Discipline Issues: What to Do About Specific Challenges resource.


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