Don’t feel like you’re alone when you struggle with your kids.Make sure your rules are clear and specific.If necessary, impose immediate consequences on your kids if they disobey.You should encourage good decisions with praise and small rewards if you want to correct misbehavior in the moment.
Step 1: Define and explain family rules.
Set specific rules instead of vague ones, such as “Be nice.”A negative rule, followed by a positive instruction, lets your child know what kind of behavior you expect.No hurting is one of the examples.Don’t yell in the house and keep your hands and feet to yourself.Make sure the child knows what consequences are ahead of time.Follow through with the consequences if they violate the rules.
Step 2: Any co- parents should set consistent family rules.
It’s important that you and any co-parents act as a united front.Try to come up with a compromise if you and your co-parent enforce rules differently.You might work a few days a week at night.Your partner allows your kids to stay up late.Our rules need to be clear and consistent, and a set sleeping routine is important.Children will not follow our rules if we are not on the same page.Explain how consistency helps avoid confusion for children to the other parent.Agreeing on compromise should be a priority.
Step 3: There should be no more than 2 to 3 new rules for younger children.
There are too many rules at once for toddlers and preschoolers to learn.Apply 2 or 3 rules consistently for 1 to 2 weeks.When your child understands the first set, introduce additional rules.There are 3 priority levels for rules.Safety begins with no running with scissors, followed by rules about not harming people or property, and polite or calm behavior.
Step 4: Allow natural consequences to teach your child lessons.
Natural consequences of undesirable behaviors are valuable teaching tools.Natural consequences teach teens how to make responsible decisions and help younger children learn about causes and effects.If a child breaks a toy, don’t replace it.If they break their toys, they will have nothing to play with.Natural consequences shouldn’t endanger a child’s health or safety.They should not be allowed to run around with scissors to teach them a lesson or not give them food because they didn’t wash their hands before a meal.
Step 5: If necessary, come up with consequences.
Misbehavior doesn’t always cause negative consequences.You will have to impose your own consequences in these cases.If your child stole a toy from a sibling or friend, have them write an apology letter and do chores to make up.If they get an allowance, they should use it to pay off the value of the item they stole.If you put your child in time-out, sit them in a naughty chair and make sure they can’t access any form of entertainment.They will have access to their toys, games, and other fun belongings if they are not put in their room.Explain to your child the consequences of their choice.Discuss what a better choice would have been.
Step 6: When you warn your kids about consequences, offer them choices.
Threats of punishment can encourage defiance.If they don’t make the right choice, warn them what will happen.This strategy can be used for both natural consequences and consequences you impose.For example, if you play rough with your toys, you won’t have anything to play with, we’ll leave, or you should stop arguing about what to watch on TV.If they don’t make the right decision, impose your consequence immediately.
Step 7: Contribute immediate, reasonable, and related consequences.
The consequences of a bad decision are more effective than punishments.Deliver consequences whenever possible to reinforce the connection between cause and effect.If your child draws on the walls, take the crayons away and make them clean up the mess as soon as you catch them.Put them in time-out if they hit a sibling.
Step 8: When you give instructions, make eye contact and ask for a response.
Younger kids tend to ignore everything else when they are playing.They might not have heard you if they weren’t listening.If you don’t want to shout a command across the house, kneel down to their level, look them in the eye, and state your instructions.Say, “It’s time for lunch” when you get on their level.You should wash your hands and come to the table.Ask the child to repeat what you said.They can be encouraged to listen and respond appropriately.
Step 9: Praise good behavior as much as you can.
Positive reinforcement is an effective way to promote good behavior.They made good decisions at every opportunity.Small rewards, such as toys or sweets, can be offered to reward them for following directions.Good behavior can be promoted with reward charts.Put a gold star on a calendar for every day they are supposed to take the garbage out.They get a small toy after a week of gold stars.
Step 10: Rather than long lectures, give short, simple commands.
You probably know that kids stop listening to speeches after a few words.Try to use 1 or 2 words when you have to issue a command, remind them of a chore, or change their behavior.If they are told to put away clean plates from the dishwasher, just say, “Plates,” instead of lecturing them about doing their chores.A short explanation is helpful when introducing rules.Try not to say anything more than 1 or 2 words.
Step 11: Turn chores into games.
It is possible to get stubborn kids to obey instructions by turning tasks into a game.Set a timer and challenge your child to a game if they don’t put away their toys.At the end of the challenge, give them a small prize to encourage them to play the clean up game.
Step 12: Don’t scream at them to stop crying.
Shouting at your child to stop isn’t going to help if they’re throwing a tantrum.When they are quiet enough to hear you speak, try to soothe them.Help them express their frustration by acknowledging their feelings.A sibling taking a toy could cause your child to scream.Say something like, “Well you seem very upset,” instead of “Stop crying!”Ask them why they are upset after acknowledging their frustration.Ask, “How can we make this better?” and work together to come up with a solution.If their sibling took their toy, you could set a timer and have them take turns.Give them time alone or give them a hug.
Step 13: Negotiating details with them is the best way to set clear goals and rules.
Teens are more likely to obey rules if they have the chance to speak their mind.Your teen should make their own decisions about how and when to meet their goals, even though you should set the rules and have the final say.Make sure they study and clean their room, but allow them to complete these tasks by a given time instead of right now.You don’t have to clean your room right now.It needs to be done by the end of the weekend.
Step 14: Follow your own rules if you want to model positive behavior.
Teens look to your example more than younger kids, even if it doesn’t seem like they pay attention.It’s okay for your teen to break the family rules if you don’t follow them.Put away your phone if you don’t want your teen to use it during dinner.Don’t react emotionally when your teenager is acting rude.As your teen may see this as a way to get your attention or they may use it to manipulate you, do not yell, scream, or cry.Stay calm.A clear and even voice is what you should use to express your disappointment.
Step 15: Praise your teenager when they do well.
Positive reinforcement can help improve teenagers’ self-esteem.Let your teenager know when you are proud of them by thanking them when they do something around the house.Say “Thank you” if your teenager washes the dishes.That was a big help.You might say “I’m really proud of you” if your teenager gets a good grade.I know you worked hard and it paid off.
Step 16: Natural consequences can be made with your core tools.
Teens need to learn how to hold themselves accountable for their actions.If they made poor decisions as adults, the consequences for disobedience should mirror what would happen.It’s possible that your teen got into a fender-bender because they were texting on their phone.If they don’t have a car, have them get a part-time job to pay for repairs.You can either get them a phone without texting or remove web access from it.Don’t rescue your teenage when they encounter obstacles.These can be useful learning experiences for them.If they lose their phone, don’t give them a new one.
Step 17: Ensure your teen gets enough sleep.
Teens don’t get their recommended 9 to 10 hours of sleep because they need food to fuel their growth.If your teen is acting up, they may not be getting enough sleep or calories.Before they leave for school, make sure they have a healthy breakfast, like Greek yogurt with fruit or fortified cereals.Help them prepare healthy lunches and dinners outside of school by encouraging them to go to the cafeteria.They can help you cook dinner and teach you how to cook healthy meals.Ensure they go to bed as early as possible, and have regular conversations about the importance of proper eating and sleeping habits.