1-Minute Discipline Magic

0-10 Seconds

Act Quickly

The first thing you have to do is take away the lipstick, separate the sparring siblings, or remove the child from the counter. "Intervene immediately," says Anthony E. Wolf, Ph.D., author of The Secret of Parenting. "Don't say 'stop' and wait for a child to obey." Safety is always the first priority, so if there's any potential danger to your child, you need to act right away. "You must also remove anything that is part of the problem," says Bobbi Rosenquest, Ph.D., an associate professor of early-childhood education at Boston's Wheelock College. "Your child needs to be able to focus on you and the situation. The cookie or the offending sibling will be a distraction to him." If necessary, remove your child from the scene of the crime. In addition, you need to separate yourself from the mess and the commotion so that you'll be less tempted to do or say something in anger that you'll regret later.

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