A Chicago Charter School Hands Out Demerits... Do You?

Demerits are tracked at a Chicago charter school to help keep students’ behaviors and appearance in line.  Once 4 demerits have been issued within a two week period, the student must pay a $5 penalty.  School and city officials boast that this school policy dramatically reduces school fights and keeps grades higher than those at other schools.  The real testimony is the statistic that more than 90% of this school’s graduates enroll in college.

This type of discipline may work in an environment where teachers must focus on teaching lessons and fostering collaboration with a large group of teens who come from different backgrounds and home life.  For some students, this may be the only discipline or structure they experience and it is needed.  But it won’t work effectively when used in bonding a family.

If you’re not already doing it or if they’ve tapered off, start holding family meetings.  Children who feel like they’re a respected part of the team are more likely to cooperate and engage in the family.

Take measures to listen more than speaking to your kids.  Avoid trying to control the outcome of everything, especially your kid’s activities or issues.  Natural consequences speak louder than your words.

Make time for them just as much as you do for the activities you enjoy personally in your life.  Plan dates with each of your children and schedule into your calendar for the week to come.  More one-on-one time with a parent increases a child’s sense of self-worth.

Create a home life that is inviting for your children and especially teens to have their friends come over and hang out.  Not all parents parent the same way, so it is always better to have them bring their friends to your home so you can see who they are interacting with.

And finally, respect your child’s space by not forcing them to keep their room in “ship shape.”  Set up rules to keep food and electronics out of the bedroom and train them how to do their own laundry when you feel they are ready for the responsibility.  If you don’t like seeing a messy room, close the door!

Get more parenting help by subscribing to my podcast series on itunes or on your p.c.  Click on the hotlink above and visit my Web site at www.CooperativeKids.com.

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