Disciplining Children with Four Magic Words

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Whenever you see your child heading to the "behavioural darkside" and you can see the need for some parental discipline looming large on the horizon - here are four magic words you should keep in your arsenal.  With these four words (and some well chosen others of course) there's a very good chance you can stop them in their tracks and turn them back to the light.

Simply start your sentence with - "That's not like you..." and fill in the blanks from there.

For example, "That's not like you not to share; you're a very good sharer!   You don't enjoy playing with the truck when you see Mark sitting there with nothing to play with..."

Almost every child in this world wants to please their parent.   Children WANT to fulfil your expectations, gain your approval - hence, it's not such a bad thing to "expect" your child to get good grades, with some proviso's of course.   

When you present your child with YOUR picture of them (e.g. "that's not like you to snap at your brother, you're always so patient with him") they can't help but want to mirror that expectation.  It also gives you an opportunity to dig deeper if you feel there's something bothering them "Is there something else that's upsetting you?"

BE WARNED:  This should only ever be used in a POSITIVE way.   It's very important not to label a child with a negative behaviour e.g. "you're so naughty all the time!"   Always separate the behaviour from the child "that's not like you, you don't like being naughty..etc."

And guess what?   It works on adults as well!    (Which is understandable considering we were all children once.)  We all have an inbuilt desire to ensure we meet other's expectations.  It's a great way to find out whether there is an underlying issue  "Dave, that's not like you to not listen to other people's ideas - you've always been a team player, what's bothering you?"

So remember, use it wisely.  After all, it's not like you to be a negative parent, you're always so positive and supportive of your child!    

See?

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