Like most preschoolers, my son could be a handful when he was 3 years old. But even when he was naughty, he was so adorable that I couldn't bring myself to discipline him properly. He'd act up, then he'd flash a mischievous grin that made me laugh and forgive him. My husband and I let him get away with much more than we should have. And many times, we gave in to Eric's demands because we were too tired to deal with the whining or crying that set in when we did say no. The result: Eric turned into a discipline nightmare.
So how did I put an end to the madness? By changing my discipline habits. For starters, I realized that I had to set rules, then stand firm no matter what. And if he didn't follow them, I had to enforce consequences. "If a child can make you change your mind just once, your 'rules' become something he can ignore," says developmental psychiatrist Denis Donovan, M.D., author of What Did I Just Say!?! Could you use a little backbone in the discipline department too? Try these strategies for dealing more effectively with common behavior problems.
Copyright© 2005. Reprinted with permission from the August 2005 issue of Parents magazine.
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