Teaching children right from wrong isn’t easy. But setting and using effective rules helps them understand what behaviors you expect from them.
Try these tips:
- Tell your child why a rule needs to be set. He’ll be more likely to follow it. Example: “Wash your hands after you play outside. If you don’t there might be germs on your hands that could make you sick.”
- Criticize the behavior, not the child. You may be tempted to say, “You are the messiest kid I’ve ever seen. I can’t believe you did this.” Instead, try, “Jimmy, I’m upset that there’s mud all over the floor. Please get the mop and clean up the mess.”
- Once a rule is set, avoid applying consequences inconsistently. For example, when your child jumps on the bed, you respond by giving him a time-out one day and ignoring the behavior the next. The result: Your youngster won’t understand that broken rules have consequences.
Note: Setting clear rules will help your child feel more secure and encourage self-discipline over time.