Discipline Lessons That Last

Control Yourself

Yelling, door slamming, being snotty -- hey, kids aren't the only ones who misbehave. Few parents can boast that they never lose control in the name of discipline. And most of us feel horrible about it afterward.

Anger mismanagement can really sabotage your discipline efforts. "Kids learn to zone out when there's a lot of yelling," Dr. Elias says. Eventually, he says, they get so used to ignoring what a parent says that "when we say something positive, they don't listen either."

Why Self-Control Works

Disciplining with a cool head just feels right. And your child will translate such confidence this way: that your decisions are objective, carried out with his best interests in mind.

How To Do It

Decide how you'll defuse those mental sticks of dynamite in the future. Try counting to ten or walking away (after you've put a stop to anything dangerous). Learn what your pressure points are. Robin Ross, of Montclair, New Jersey, an attorney and mother of three, says, "I know I'm going to lose it when my kids are fresh, so I walk away until I can talk to them again."

Finally, if you fail, which is going to happen, remember that a heartfelt "I'm sorry" tells your children that you're a human who makes mistakes -- and can admit it.

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