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Trevor Smith | DISCerning Discipline: S Style

Published:Tuesday | May 22, 2018 | 12:00 AMTrevor Smith
Trevor Smith

Disciplining someone with a preference for the Steadiness behavioural style has an interesting twist.

If you understand the characteristics of Steadiness (S-style behaviour) you will be tempted to wonder why would we even think of dedicating an entire article on disciplining them.

The S-style is the embodiment of the teacher's pet. They are not keen to be on the wrong side of authority. They would prefer to let sleeping dogs lie. Rocking the boat is not appealing.

So, it would be logical to think that disciplining someone with a preference for the S-style would be simple.

Well, that is not exactly the case.

(Access a quick reference guide to identifying and relating to the different styles here:

So, what is the issue?


Steadiness - Reserved/People-oriented


Supportive | Sensitive | Empathetic | Submissive | Sincere | Loyal | Agreeable | Shy.

The challenge with disciplining individuals with a preference for S-style behaviour is that there are two potential issues which unfortunately might not be apparent on the surface.

There is not likely to be a D-style animated defence or attempts to talk their way out of the situation.

Consequently, you may step away thinking that the disciplinary episode went well and that the correction has taken hold.




A feature of S-style behaviour is a greater tendency to internalise issues. They are prone to read a lot into situations and have a tendency to personalise events.

However,careful you are in giving the correction, there is likely to be some residual questioning of the situation with the potential to impact the relationship - even if temporarily.

This might also manifest itself in the form of self-doubt.

Are they good enough? Are they living up to expectations? It might even go to the point of questioning whether they are really valued.

Their self-confidence might be negatively impacted, and that kind of thinking can impact their behaviour and performance.




The other challenge is the high risk of resentment setting in. Individuals with a preference for S-style behaviour want to do what is required of them to such a degree that being in a position to be disciplined is challenging.

They will ruminate on the episode for a long time. With a tendency to rationalise their actions, over time they might conclude that the disciplinary action was not justified.

That, in turn, might fuel resentment.

The challenge is that this resentment might not be expressed, making it challenging to address. Unattended, it could seep into the relationship and reduce the level of active cooperation.




The best approach is to assume that the potential pitfalls are actually happening.

Consequently, you should take steps to go over the rationale behind the disciplinary action.

Reinforce the fact that the act of exercising discipline in no way diminishes your appreciation of them (or their performance).

Back up your words with concrete action which reaffirms that the issue that prompted the disciplinary action has had no negative impact on the relationship or the status quo.

Get further insights on DISCerning Parenting here: https://parenting.success