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Stick to the consequences and, when the child knows you won’t give in, the problems will reduce.
Give the child a choice about a consequence. Say, “Either you help tidy up now, or we wont go to the park today.”
“You want to play with the toy, but Tom is using it right now.”
This lets the child know that others have needs, too. It teaches perspective taking, and may lead the child to develop the ability to put himself in other people’s shoes. It will also gain you the child’s respect, for it shows you are fair.
Rather than saying ‘Don’t run in the street’, say ‘Please keep by my side when we are in the street’. Saying what you want gives the child a clear idea on how to behave and is thus more likely to succeed.
After firmly stating what is not to be done, you can demonstrate how to do it. This sets firm limits, yet helps the child feel that you & them are a team, not enemies.
“You want to play with the toy but...” This validates the legitimacy of the child’s desires and illustrates that you are an understanding person.
Even with babies, communicate in respectful tones and words. This prevents a lowering of the child’s self-image and promotes their tendency to co-operate.
Help them think about alternatives and solutions to problems. “You feel angry because I won’t let you have sweets. I will let you choose a cracker or a pear. Which do you want?” This encourages characteristics we want to see emerge in children, such as awareness of feelings and reasonable assertiveness, and gives children tools for solving problems without unpleasant scenes.
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