Rule of Three in Disipline & Self-Esteem.

Choose three situations to consistentlydiscipline at one time for children’s self-esteem. Then choose three more to discipline.Self-esteem grows best with consistent discipline and when a child hears "yes"often and rarely hears the word "no." Promote your kids’ benefits, not your own.

Rule of Three in Discipline and Self-Esteem.

Unless something is threatening the safety of your child, never try to getacross more than three discipline points at any one particular time in his/her life.


1. It is hard to develop self-esteem when you constantly hear the word "no."
2. Consistency in discipline is all important. It is easier to be consistent when focused on fewer discipline situations.

Choose three habits or situations that need discipline in your child and workon those until you feel each discipline situation is under control. As each disciplinesituations is under control, you add another discipline. If you try to "fix"everything at once, you will constantly be saying "no." Again, a constant"no" is NOT the way to build self-esteem in children.

When you choose your three situations to discipline, be careful to choosesituations that benefit the child rather than making you feel or look good.

Another important factor of the rule of three involves consistency. Nothing ismore important for making discipline work and thus, building self-esteem than consistency.It is possible to be consistent about three discipline situations. It is almost impossibleto be consistent about ten discipline situations. You are human!

Try to avoid needing discipline while building self-esteem. One way to do thisis to promote a feeling of success by letting your child know what to expect in any newsituation. Well-explained events become adventures rather than scary trips into theunknown. Confident children need less discipline. Successful adventures and new situationskeep adding to self-esteem.

Teach your children the skills necessary for success. Set your kids up forsuccess. Children were not born knowing how to make the bed, write a report, or set thetable. When they do these chores incorrectly, that is not the time for discipline. Ratherit is time for a self-esteem-building lesson.

Be patient. Allow time for them to go slowly in new situations. A few small,slow steps avoid the need for discipline while adding self-esteem now and later.

Make it safe to fail. Praise your child’s willingness to try rather thanpraising the result of the first attempt. Then she will be more likely to try again oraccept a new challenge.

When a child faces something new and succeeds, her self-esteem grows. If, mostof the time, he hears, "yes" or "try it," his self-esteem grows.

Keep remembering to focus on changing behavior that harms your child. You don’tchange things about your child to make him/her conform to your "specs."

William Sears, M.D., and Martha Sears, R.N., in their book The DisciplineBook write, "No discipline book would be worth its price without a section onself-esteem. Yet we fear that parents misunderstand the meaning of this concept and feelthat this is one more thing they are required to give their child along with regular mealsand a warm winter jacket. They guard against anything that may undercut self-esteem–tothe point where it becomes ridiculous."

They continue, "You can’t build your child’s self-esteemcompliment-by-compliment, activity-by-activity."

The authors feel parents are already overloaded with guilt because they may notbe doing enough to foster self-esteem. They conclude, "You don’t need a degree inpsychology to raise a confident child. Much of parenting is easy and fun. Hold your baby alot, respond sensitively to her needs, enjoy your baby. Then sit back and enjoy the personwhose self-esteem is developing naturally."

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