Setting Clear Expectations and Rules for Preteens (page 2)
Even parents with five-year-olds who had never behaved appropriately in the past have gotten the results they wanted by simply “saying it straight” in only three calm, simple steps.
What You Need to Know
Even though kids test and resist you anytime a chance allows, they really do want clear expectations and boundaries. And by the time your child is 10-12 years old – ages of reasoning – he not only wants to know “what” the expectations are, but “why.”
Saying it straight means that when your child has violated his boundaries, you:
- Get down to the child's level.
- Make the child look at you.
- In a firm voice, state:
- what you expected
- what the child did wrong
- what the consequence will be
And leave it at that.
How You Can Help
To fully understand the difference your tone of voice can make, practice on a friend. (Practicing on a friend with children will benefit you both, instead of just making you look silly.)
- Get down to your child's (for now, your friend's) eye level, then make her look at you while you prepare to tell her in a firm voice what you've expected, what she's done wrong, and what the consequence will be. (Avoid unnecessary argument with a good friend by staying in character and keeping it fictional, along the lines of something you and your child might actually discuss.)
- First, deliver the message by speaking quietly, in conversation style.
- Then deliver the message again, really eyeballing her, with some authority to your voice.
- Discuss the difference in deliveries with your listener.
Which one do you think will make your child (friend, in this case) take more notice?
When your child behaves as you've expected at home, you know you've done well as a parent. However, it means even more when your child behaves as you expect, even when you're out of sight. To this end:
- Help your child mature beyond the simple mentality that negative behavior means punishment – help him to understand his behaviors in terms of how they affect others.
For more on this topic, please see the full article:
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