This series of posts comes from a workshop / seminar I gave to a collection of youth leaders in Superior, WI called: Discipline w/ the Gospel in Mind.

// Discipline Tips I’ve Learned Along the Way

  1. Help your children or students own their own problem. Hold them responsible for their problem.
  2. Never get angry. It’s the student’s problem, not yours. Why are you so mad?
  3. Don’t lecture. Ask pointed questions and listen.
  4. Make them figure out how to make things right. Help them figure out a consequence.
  5. Remember grace. It’s how God disciplines and loves us.
  6. Don’t be shocked. Do your best not to show your “Shock and Appalled” face. That does not help matters. Don’t say:

    “I can’t believe you would do or say something like that!” You can’t?! Yes, you can! Just look at the things you’ve said and done (the pickles and predicaments you have found yourself in over time) and then you’ll handle things more gracefully.

  7. Don’t rescue your student or child from natural consequences.
  8. Lace discipline with empathy. Not sympathy, not sarcasm, but genuine empathy (stepping in their shoes with how they feel about the either the discipline or the consequences… because you would feel bad and dejected if you were the one in trouble… so empathize with how they feel… don’t save them or rescue them, just humanize with them).


  1. Just catching up on your blog and ran across these tips. Along with Biblical storytelling and freedom to be relevant and innovative in children’s ministries, I think this is among one of the best things that I saw modeled by you while at Hayward Wesleyan. I’m not sure you knew I was watching you and how you handled kids when they misbehaved, but I will never forget seeing you talking with a young boy in the after school program. I’m not even sure what he did, but I learned so much from the way you handled the situation. You were direct, you didn’t seem mad, but you were definitely straightforward and you let him talk. You wanted to know why he did what he did and you didn’t let him go back to his classroom until he would articulate it for you. Your example has made me a better kid’s ministry worker. Thank you Jeremy!

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