Eyewitness News (New York - WABC, October 11, 2007) - One of parenthood's most vexing problems is how to discipline misbehaving kids. It's hard not to scream and yell. But experts say don't do it!
Instead, they say take a deep breath and calm down.
Eyewitness News anchor Sade Baderinwa show us some better ways to deal with kids who act up.
The Lee children are well-behaved, obedient kids. None-the-less, 10-year-old Jason and 9-year-old Courtney do get into trouble.
"Being mean to my sister, that happens a lot," Jason said. "I got in trouble for being mean to him and for being mean to my mom," Courtney said.
But their mom tries not to lose her temper. "If I don't want my children raising their voice at me, I don't feel that it's fair for me to raise my voice," mom Tracey Lee said.
"Effective discipline is discipline that teaches them how to behave," parenting expert Elizabeth Pflaum said. "Saying no teaches nothing, other than stop what they're doing. It doesn't teach them what they should be doing instead of what they're doing." Pflaum says while parents should take a constructive approach to discipline, they shouldn't be pushovers. Moms and dads must stand firm, especially when dealing with temper tantrums.
"They want you to buy something," Pflaum said. "They're screaming and carrying on, and you're embarrassed so you buy this thing for them. You've now just taught them that tantrums are an effective tool for getting what they want."
To change children's behavior, do it one bad habit at a time and let them know in advance the consequences if they still act up. "Consistency is very important, and you must do exactly as you say you will do," Pflaum said. "So if you've told them what a consequence will be, you must follow through."
Keep in mind that most kids want to please their parents and are looking for signs of approval in almost everything they do. "They want to be rewarded and to make you happy, and sometimes we think it's the opposite," Pflaum said. "When they recognize that doing that thing gets them praise, they're more likely to continue doing the right thing"
Another useful tool is to make a family rules chart that spells out the rules of the house.
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