2. Consider alternatives
How many different ways can you respond to the problem?

As you rapidly form reasonable targets for your discipline, you could consider many alternatives, both good and bad. You could, for example, bite your son back to show him how it feels or spank him. You could make him apologize or separate him from Cindy. You could send Cindy home or take Jamie's teddy bear away as punishment. Or you could give Jamie a time out, or reason with him, or simply remind him of the rule. At this point, we are not evaluating the worth of these alternatives. We are simply trying to envision the possibilities.

As these alternatives stream through your mind, you could rate each one for its potential effectiveness. Which tool, or combination of tools, will be effective at this moment? As you consider your options, use your core values in your evaluation of their merits. For example, you might want to be fair and not over react to the situation. You might want to protect your son’s dignity and self-worth. You may be committed to nonviolence. So you would rule out retaliating by biting or hurting your child. Every parent has to decide on the values that are critical for evaluating the merits of their alternatives.

Next: 3. Make a choice