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Youth Ministry Lesson - Discipline

With Youth: Preventive Discipline
When we discipline youth, our goal is the
internal control of the teen instead of the
external control of the teacher.

With teens, abnormal behavior is almost always

normal and only a temporary phase they pass
through on the path toward adulthood. Remember
your own teen years, be flexible and keep a good
sense of humor.

Discipline is from the word disciple which means learner.

Therefore discipline is leading a person into self-control
through instruction and example. It is not the same as
punishment. Punishment may be a part of discipline as it is a
means to control behavior when a person is unable to
exercise self control. Our goal is the internal control of the
teen instead of the external control of the teacher.

Preventive discipline
I. Set reasonable limits

Decide what is and what is not objectionable behavior

and set specific limits accordingly. Consider the age and
needs of youth.


Youth should know and agree to the limits and have some limited
room for negotiation. Allow, as much as possible, for freedom and
flexibility within the rules set. Like bargaining for a price it is best
to set your price too high and bargain down to where you
want. In the end both parties feel that have a gotten a good deal!
If youth help make the rules they break them less frequently.

3. Be careful not to set too many rules. Decide

which battles are worth fighting and save your
resources for the battles that are really

II. Establish consequences


Avoid threats.
Once limits are set, dont budge on them. Youth are continually
testing limits to see how far they push them. They want freedom
but they also want limits that are firm. It gives them security. Yet
they must also know what will happen when a rule is broken.
They WILL break them at times even to just see if you will follow

3. Consequences should be edifying, consistent, fair and

fit the action. Dont play favorites. Build a good healthy
respect for youth in discipline. Never embarrass a
youth in front of peers. Deal with them alone and
attack the behavior, not the person.

III. Create the right atmosphere


Set a positive tone to your relationship. Notice and

affirm appropriate behavior. If you spend most of your
time affirming you will need to spend little time
correcting. Affirmation & encouragement are inspiring.
Criticism is largely self defeating.



Youth can tell if you are a drill sergeant, a pushover or someone in

between. Being too strict is a mistake but so is being too lenient. A
happy balance must be established so that youth are allowed free
expression as their talkative high energy selves within an orderly
Correct with compassion instead of harshness.
Avoid the use of labels to characterize youth such as naughty,
bad, good, lazy, slow, etc.

IV. Eliminate conditions which cause behavior problems


Conditions leading to discipline problems may be internal, external,

temperament, developmental or symptomatic:
Poor student/ teacher ratio
The room being too hot or too cold
The room being too crowded
The room having too many distractions

Make sure activities involve everyone. Often youth

who arent involved are the ones that create the most
Move smoothly and quickly between activities. When
a lag occurs between activities, problems tend to

Arrive early, prepared, and ready to start. Start with a bang

to encourage promptness. Fight teens tendency to be late by
starting on time. Start meetings with a quick activity that will
grab their attention instead of running after them, wasting
your time trying to round them up.
Use positive clear directions. If youth are unclear of
instructions then tend to be disruptive.
High sugar at beginning of sessions

V. Build relationships
Youth are more likely to respond to someone who respects them as
individuals and whom they have grown to respect. Get to know all
youth, especially those tending toward behavioral problems. Accept
their silly, noisy sides and direct their high energy into appropriate
outlets. Accept feelings and high energy they cannot control but seek
to stop disruptive, annoying, and destructive behavior.

VI. Plan high energy programs

Youth have an attention span in minutes approximately equal to
their age in years. Good meetings are positive, upbeat, and have a
wide range of activities that are exciting and fun, game oriented, and

VII. Plan with youth

The more ownership youth have in an event, the less discipline
problems you will have.

Creative Youth Ideas

Camp Bible Study Series
Who Do You Say that I AM?
Jesus asked the disciples, "Who do others
say that I am?" It was easy to answer
because it required no conviction, no
commitment, and no risk. But then he
follows that question with another, "Who
do YOU say that I am?"
-> Tell me about Who Do You Say that I AM?

Creative Youth Ideas

Youth Camp Bible Study Series
Fruit Of the Spirit
Live the Fruitful, Abundant Life
Jesus Promised. Great for youth camps or
weekly Youth Bible Study. There are 7
Primary Bible study Sessions in the series.
-> Tell me about Fruit Of the Spirit