• Establish ground rules ahead of time.  When children know what is expected and knows what the rules are they are less likely to break them.  Once you’ve established the rules, explain why they exist and what the consequences are if broken.  When a rule is broken then the consequence must occur or they will not learn that there are consequences for their bad behavior.  If children can count on the rules staying the same, they’re more likely to abide by them.  Punishments can vary depending on the age of the child (ie: time out, take away a toy or a particular activity, even a privilege like getting to stay up late).
  • Don’t say “Because I said so”.    Tell your child the reason behind the decisions you make.  Not because you are trying to prove your point or persuade them but so they understand why. In other words, don’t try to persuade your child into thinking your reasons have merit. Some lessons won’t be understood until they are explained or they are older.
  • Allow disagreement.   Listen to their argument and respect what they are saying. When your child disagrees with your reasons, talk it out and explain your reasons.  If you don’t respect what your child has to say, they will not respect or listen to what you have to say.
  • Choose your battles.  Give them two choices and let them choose from what you feel is appropriate.   If kids are constantly being corrected, and told what to do they tend to stop listening.  They must learn some things on their own and once they experience it, they will probably learn the lesson.  But don’t give in to unreasonable behavior.  If a tantrum is being thrown because they want something, the last thing you should do is give them what they wanted.   Reward good behavior not bad.
  • Monkey see, monkey do.  Do not forget that kids learn how to handle disagreements by watching their moms and dads’ example.  Your kids model themselves after you.  If you can control your temper, then you will argue less. So often, kids (and adults) let their tempers take control and something gets said that is hurtful and hard to take back.   Staying calm, assertive and polite makes it easier to resolve conflicts and stay in control.

For more information visit www.kidshealth.org andhttp://www.healthychildren.org