Threats Don’t Work

Threats don’t work.  Teachers are told this all the time, but they do it anyway.

I know that teachers often feel overwhelmed, and they use any technique they can to get their students to listen to them. But know that it doesn’t work when you threaten a child, especially if you don’t follow through with it.

Teachers take some of the most exciting and fun things of a student’s early childhood experience and use them as a threat, such as; party days or special holidays.

How many times have you heard a teacher say to a student that they would not get a cupcake if they did not stop what they were doing?  Or overheard them tell their entire class that if they did not settle down, they wouldn’t get a party? Which they knew was already arranged.

The best way to handle these situations is to tell your class that you understand how exciting the day must be for them, but you need them to settle down to get other things in the classroom did. 

I’ve also heard teachers tell their students that they would tell their parents if they continued to exhibit particular behaviors at least three to four times a day. Tell them once and move on. 

Tell the student that he/she didn’t make good choices today, so you will speak to their mom/or dad when they pick them up. Or, say nothing at all, and speak to the parent when they get there. 

One thing that makes me cringe is when I hear a teacher tell a student that they will not be receiving a piece of candy because they were bad. A teacher should never under any circumstances say to a child that they are bad, or use food as a punishment.

When you say things like this to children, it is a poor way to manage your class, but it is also demeaning to the child. 

Being a good teacher is establishing a good relationship with your students based on trust and respect. If you are the type of teacher that uses threats to control your classroom, you are not establishing a good relationship with your students, and they will not respect or trust you because you don’t follow through with what you say.

I’ve been in Early Childhood for a very long time, but I don’t know everything, and sometimes I have to ask my mentor. So that is what I suggest you do; if you don’t know if your discipline techniques are acceptable for an Early Childhood setting, ask someone because it will benefit not only you but also your students and the teachers who look up to you. 

The best way to discipline students is to give them choices and make it about them and not something that you want or need. 

Also, reach out to the parents first, and stop trying to take everything upon yourself. As much as you think this makes you a good teacher, it doesn’t, and it makes you more tired and more frustrated. And closer to being burnt out. 

Remember, the students aren’t your children, they have parents, and the quicker you get the parents on board, the faster you can work on the behaviors. Managing behaviors should not be a quick fix that only happens in the classroom, and it should be managed throughout the child’s life. 

Above all, do not use food to discipline your students. You don’t know each child’s home environment, and that plate of food or treat that you denied them could be the only thing they get for that day. 

Respect our little people and treat them with the respect that they deserve.


Leave a Reply