As parents, we hope for cooperative conduct in our kids, such as acting polite and being helpful. We dread our children carrying on, especially in public. How can we encourage the former while preventing the latter? Discipline! When used correctly, discipline teaches children which behaviors are acceptable and which behaviors are not. Keep reading for tactics to discipline children in an effective manner.

Praise children for acceptable behaviors.

Make accolades specific to actions or behaviors that are worthy of your attention. You might say, “I really liked the way you spoke in such a considerate way to your brother.”

Motivate children to try their best in different situations, even if their attitudes are imperfect.

It’s important to reinforce any efforts kids make. Praise your children for cleaning up all the spilled milk or tidying up a mess.

Use positive “I” messages.

Utilize statements like, “I really like when you pick up your shoes and put them in the closet. It makes me proud of you that you clean up after yourself.”

Express yourself in a calm but efficient manner.

Confrontational “I” messages reflect the impact of a child’s negative behaviors on you. A great example is, “I can’t concentrate on the work I am doing right now when your music is so loud. It makes me nervous. Please turn it down.”

Ignore certain distasteful actions of children.

This especially rings true when these acts happen for the first time.

Confront other inappropriate deeds verbally and succinctly.

This includes having a negative facial expression and body stance while saying, “I asked you to brush your teeth, so go to the bathroom and do it!”

Set up a system to reinforce proper etiquette.

Write on a chart to tally points for every positive act your child makes, such as getting up on time or making the bed. Points may be redeemed for rewards.

Work out a mutual exchange.

Agree to stop a behavior that irritates your children, while your children must agree to stop doing something they should not be doing, like texting during dinner.

Children learn by watching the actions of people they look up to. Exhibit proper behaviors in front of your kids, and they will be the little angels you know are lurking inside.

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