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By GreatSchools Staff
The problem: “If you don’t turn off the TV right now, no more shows for the rest of the week. I mean it!” Really? Parents often make threats that we don’t — or can’t — follow through on. Our kids know it too. And when they do, they’ll take advantage.
Try this instead: Before you announce the consequence, make sure it’s one you can follow through on — and live with. (Do you really want the whole family to skip the Fourth of July parade?) Once you start carrying out your promised punishment, your kid will know you mean business. And remember: Keep it short and simple. “No Wii until your homework is finished.” Simple, relevant, and very effective.
The problem: Have you ever screamed at your child, “Be quiet!”? Seems pretty silly to be screaming about being quiet, right? Your child probably thinks so too. When kids push our buttons — which by now they've perfected to a fine art — it can take superhuman strenth for parents o keep their cool. But yelling is one of the least effective forms of discipline. Kids don’t hear the words; they just hear the anger. Worse, after all that yelling, they rarely change their behavior (and you feel like a monster after seeing the frightened look on your child’s face).
Try this instead: If you find yourself in a situation where you feel like yelling, try your best to walk away. This can be easier said than done. It often helps to have a “stop yourself” word (“stop” works) so you don’t yell without thinking. Or try counting to 10 before yelling. If you can get to 10, chances are you'll no longer have an impulse to yell. Also, leave the room for a minute to regain your composure. When you return, make sure you calmly tell your child why you're angry: “I asked you to finish your math homework before you could play on the computer.” Then tell her (again, short and sweet, avoiding a lecture or recrimination) what you want her to do: “Turn off the computer and finish all of your math.”
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