No parent wants to be a push-over. And it turns out that kids crave order and boundaries. But how do you set -- and enforce -- healthy rules while also keeping the peace?
Be generous with praise: I aim to catch my kids in the act of being good. Did your child remember to say "thank you?". Did the siblings play nicely together, with no bickering? Tell them you are proud of them.
Set the rules, and stick to them: Kids need structure, and helping them understand what is expected of them goes a long way to avoiding the dreaded tantrum. Be consistent; no one wants to be known as The Enforcer, but you have to stick to your guns.
Consistent consequences: If you make a threat, always, always follow through on it. If your kid is misbehaving in public and you threaten them with going home, be ready to go home if they don't comply. Never make a threat you aren't prepared to follow through on.
Don't debate: It isn't a negotiation. Don't get sucked into a debate. The answer is yes or no.
Punishments that fit the crime: A time-out should be deserved. If there is a real violation of the rules, send the offender to the naughty chair, corner or their room for an age-appropriate amount of time. A good rule of thumb is number of minutes per age.
Last but not least? Remember, "no" is not a dirty word.So what about you? Are you a softie like me, or do you set a hard line?