Hebrews 12:5-7 speaks about discipline being an act of love and while it is not pleasant for the person during it; discipline in the long term brings forth a harvest of righteousness. Now with that being said, God has called parents to be the primary instruments of discipline in their children’s lives and we as the church want to honor that and in no way supplant parental responsibility.
A. When we will take disciplinary action
Leading in this ministry we know that children will test boundaries. It’s a fact! We also know that children are sinners in need of the grace of God. Clear rules, expectations and consistent messages about behavior are the key to effective discipline procedures. However there will be times children have trouble following the rules or will display disruptive behavior. In these cases, we will adhere to the following steps:
- The teacher or leader will talk with the child and clearly state what the problem behavior is and what the child should do instead. For younger children, the leader will attempt to redirect the child to another activity.
- If the child continues to exhibit problem behavior, the teacher/leader will give a warning to the child and have the program or ministry area leader talk individually to the child. The leader should let them know that the next step in this process is contacting the parents. Also, during this step a “time out” will be implemented that will not exceed the age of the child (i.e. A 4 year old child’s time out should not exceed 4 minutes).
- If the misbehavior persists, the child will be removed from the class/activity and a parent will be contacted.
B. Zero tolerance
There are a few instances when disciplinary action needs to be taken right away. These are if a child is being:
- An unmanageable distraction: The child is completely out of control and unable to calm down and it is affecting the entire class. (ex: A child is screaming at the top of his lungs and cannot be calmed or redirected).
- Extremely disobedient: In some cases a child may exhibit extreme defiance against the leaders causing the entire class to come to a standstill. (ex: A child yells and spits on the leader; a child runs away from class and refuses to return).
- Harmful to himself or others: If a child has willfully hurt themselves or someone else, then parents need to be notified immediately. This is for instances that are more than horseplay or shoving. (ex: A child hits another child in the face because he took his toy; a child kicks and hits the leader because he did not get his way).
** In the case of a child who is continually struggling every week, parents will be asked to sit in on his/her class for three consecutive weeks to help with behavior as well as to help the teacher understand how to handle their child.