Toddlers Behaving Badly

Discipline Dos and Don'ts

  • Don't hit. That sends the message that it's okay to use force. Plus, a young child can't yet connect his misdeed to your response.
  • Don't overuse the word "no." Toddlers who hear this term all the time will tune it out. Focus on what he can do instead: "Why don't you jump on the floor, not the couch?"
  • Don't cave in when she cries. If you do, you'll set a precedent for future sobfests.
  • Do stay calm. Yelling may startle or scare your child, but it won't improve his behavior.
  • Do catch him being good. Shower your child with kisses, hugs, and praise when he listens or behaves well.
  • Do make eye contact. This shows respect and commands attention.

Copyright © 2008. Used with permission from the February 2008 issue of Parents magazine.

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