Incentives Vs. Deprivation

Work on inspiring good behavior. Instead of thinking about what you can take away so your child will listen to you, think of what you can add. And that doesn’t mean buying something. Gorski suggests you spend time together, have a meal out, and do a special activity.

If you say “no” to a request from an older child to go to an event that’s out of your bounds, discuss alternatives. This discussion may take place over several days, and may have to be interrupted if it gets too intense, Kurcinka said.

Communication is key, said Severe. Open communication is the core of a good parent-child relationship. Don’t close it down. Listen to the meaning behind the words. Recognize that it can be especially hard for little children, who have a limited vocabulary, to express themselves clearly. When they say, “I hate you,” that’s not what they mean, but it’s the only words they can access to express how upset they are over something.

Think about the issues, said Maxym. We’re all so breathlessly busy that we can lose track. Instead of reacting to the 2,002 details of everyday life, how about taking time out to contemplate “What do I really want for my son?

” What do you care about? What actually are your standards? Write those discoveries down — use a journal or post them on the bathroom mirror.

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