Conscious Discipline

About Conscious Discipline

Conscious Discipline is a trauma-informed and evidence-based practice and set of skills that can be utilized by teachers, administrators, mental health professionals, and parents. The focus of which is to move beyond traditional discipline structures to one which places safety and belonging at the core so that children are more freely able to learn and adopt problem solving skills. Everyday classroom scenarios and child behaviors are used to teach conflict-resolution, self-control, build social skills, and character development. Adults who enroll in Conscious Discipline programs first learn brain-based self-regulation skills and behavior management strategies for themselves in order to fully empower the children they serve. The research-backed methods employ four components, covered below, to build social-emotional skills, regulation, and classroom structures.

Four components of Conscious Discipline


Conscious Discipline Brain State Model

The Brain State model is the foundation of the Conscious Discipline practice. There are three brain-body states that dictate that what happens internally, in the brain, is exhibited in one’s outward behavior, the body. This awareness can help a teacher respond with compassion to the actions of a child. It can also make one more fully understand how their thoughts and emotions affect their behavior and that of their students. When an adult is aware of their internal happenings they can more easily model self- regulation and behavior management to others.

The model specifies three areas of the brain: survival, emotional and executive. A physical response is initiated when one or more of these are triggered:

  • Physical aggression is a sign of one being in the survival state of the mind, where one feels threatened and unsafe.
  • Verbal aggression is a sign of one being in their emotional state of mind when one needs validation and connection
  • The ability to learn and use problem-solving skills lies in the executive state of the mind. When one is functioning here, they can more easily receive new information. The goal is to move to this state.

Seven Powers of Conscious Adults

The Seven Powers are the next step in Conscious Discipline. It is based in the belief that children need the reassurance and safety that comes from a conscious adult, one who is in control of their thoughts, emotions and actions. An adult utilizes the Seven Powers to achieve self-regulation:

  • Perception – To take ownership of one’s own feelings
  • Unity – To extend compassion to self and others as an act of solidarity
  • Attention – What we focus on becomes what we do and what we see
  • Free Will – The only actions we can control are our own, we cannot force others into doing or being what we want
  • Acceptance – To embrace the moment just as it is
  • Love – To believe everyone is doing their best and openly choosing to focus on that
  • Intention-To teach skills rather than punish for the lack thereof

Practicing these 7 steps transforms the way a teacher sees discipline scenarios, seeing each one as an opportunity to teach new skills.

Creating The School Family

A successful learning environment is one in which everyone is experiencing a sense of connection, like a family. A connection like this prepares children to learn and grow new skills. There are three features of a school family:

  • Willingness to learn- Cultivated when everyone has a sense of belonging
  • Impulse control- Impulse control is fostered by a great sense of connection
  • Attention- Students can fully focus in a positive atmosphere, one which reduces or eliminates attention-breaking stress

Seven Skills of Discipline

Once the brain-state model has been adopted, teachers have harnessed the Powers of Conscious Adults, and a School Family has been created, the Seven Skills of Discipline can effectively be put to use to address challenging behaviors like power-struggles, bullying, and more. The conscious skills as they’re called, create teaching moments that will generate lifelong communication skills and instill lasting values. Below are the skills and their subsequent values.

Conscious Skill Life/Communication Skills Value
Composure Anger management, delay of gratification Integrity
Encouragement Pre-social skills: kindness, caring, helpfulness Independence, optimism, gratitude
Assertiveness Bully prevention, healthy boundaries Respect for self and others
Choices Impulse control, goal achievement Persistence
Empathy Emotional regulation, perspective-taking Honoring diversity, honesty
Positive Intent Cooperation, problem-solving Compassion, generosity
Consequences Learning from your mistakes Responsibility
Table contents from Conscious Discipline

Explore the research regarding the effectiveness of Conscious Discipline practices and receive access to podcasts, videos, printables, and discipline tips at

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