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What Discipline Works for Kids with Behavioral Problems?

There was a time when discipline, particularly in schools, was swift and heavy-handed. But, those were also simpler times with much clearer standards.

Standards today are no longer clear. Kids today pick up on “I don’t care” attitudes at school where their environments are often full of bullying, aggression, defiant attitudes, not to mention anxiety and stress.

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The Consciousness Discipline Program was developed as an answer to those attitudes and problems. The Program outlines detailed practical specifics with plentiful, easy examples for both parents and educators to have connecting cooperative relationships with children. This, in turn, ensures that both home and school environments are best open for learning academics and social skills.

A Different Approach to Discipline

So, how does discipline relate to new ideas and ways in education? Up to now, both home and school management of learning and achievement have been accustomed to “managing” with the many methods of rewards and punishment responsibilities–  time outs,  admonishing, consequences, distraction,–that usually also include power struggles, threats, and aggressive attitudes.

The Conscious Discipline (CD) program focuses instead on the “School Family” — the parents and educators first, and then the children. Teachers and parents develop a new practical way to have connecting and cooperative relationships with children and more practical ways to solve problems.

The CD program is based on current brain research, child development knowledge, and appropriate practices. It has been named a national model for character education by the Florida State legislature, and statistics show it reduces aggression by 64% and increases reading scores by 18%. CD classrooms scored significantly higher in state reading comprehension, writing, and math.

Real-World Problem Solving Instead of Punishment

CD is a problem-solving plan that provides for what happens and what to do in real-life situations faced by children every day. It is taught with various methods, materials, and media, including conscious breathing, relaxation breaks, interactive sharing moments, and particular verbalized responses. The plan speaks to both academics and emotional survival.


Katja von Elbe is a mastered degreed early childhood educator with over 20 years of experience, and an expert in the training of the Conscious Discipline program. She brings it’s originator, Dr. Bailey’s program to life with her workshops, conferences, fun, and instructional exercises online.

Her website is chock full of all the information you need, and she welcomes any questions. In fact, questions are “a quick step to look at things in new ways, to see how CD offers practical ways for results we parents want — to implement healing relationships with children, to have children cooperate with us, to give children the room they need to move, to have real ways to calm oneself and connect us to our children and their daily lives, and for our children while in school to be celebrated,” says Katja. She continues with loving success stories and explanations.

“Children’s brains always need to get back on track, but the focus on test scores and achievement is limiting by ignoring important connecting, and self-relaxation activities. There is conscious breathing in class because no one can make you angry without your permission, the feelings emoted and practiced are of safety, helpfulness kindness, acknowledgments.”

“I hear so many success stories of using CD techniques with young children, especially those involving connection in a silly, playful way. For example, there was “Richard” who liked to run away from his class and had trouble listening to ‘come back, Richard.’ So each morning I sang to him, ‘what did you bring to school, oh, you brought your hand, your elbow, your eyes..’ It was a new way of greeting, and it meant something to him that I connected with him rather than admonishing him.”

Older kids with methods geared to their age have been helped even with sleep and knowing how to manage themselves during tests without worry or anxiety. These connections mean something to kids –rather than admonishments and taking away something. With older kids, it’s about being a “star,” the acronym for: smile, take a deep breath, and relax.”

It Takes a Family

The bottom line behind CD is to create a successful “School Family” that can work together like any family to achieve results for the good of all in the “household,” and also like in any family the lead and example has to be set by the adults, and then it will be naturally picked up on and followed by the kids.

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