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Who? Birth and up
Why? Discipline won't work if the only time you focus on your child is when he's acting up. Children crave recognition from their parents, and, although positive attention is ideal, they'll take what they can get--even if that means an angry reaction to the whack they just gave their little brother. Barbara Stefanacci, a mother of two from Clifton, New Jersey, recognizes that her children's tantrums are a cry for attention: "They're close in age and always competing with each other." So how does she handle this rivalry? "I talk to them. If that doesn't work, I give them a huge hug, which usually puts them back in a good mood."
How? Try to "catch" children being good. It's as simple as thanking your son for picking the toy trucks off the floor (never mind that he's the reason they're there in the first place) or for sharing his toys with his sister. It's important to be specific when offering praise. Phrases like "good boy" don't encourage a behavior--they'll make your child think that he (and not his action) is either good or bad, rather than teaching him that sharing, for example, is the practice that makes you proud.
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