A New Attitude: Updating Your Discipline Techniques

Stay Calm.

Raising your voice shifts the focus from your child's misdeed to your own angry emotions -- and you can still convey the seriousness of a situation without yelling. "Seven- and 8-year-olds can be sensitive to criticism, so it's helpful to use a gentle touch to guide them toward good behavior," says Eileen Kennedy-Moore, Ph.D., a psychologist in Princeton, New Jersey, and coauthor of Smart Parenting for Smart Kids: Nurturing Your Child's True Potential. In fact, kids this age are eager to comprehend their parents -- and the world around them -- which is why they'll be more likely to change their behavior if they understand why you want them to. For instance, tell your child that cutting in line isn't fair to others who have been waiting. Once he gets it, don't repeat the explanation ad infinitum. Tell him that if he misbehaves again, there will be appropriate repercussions.

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