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Busting Bratty Behavior

Age 5 to 7: Manners on display
Kids this age are more able to listen to directions. At school, they're being asked to be quiet, take turns, and raise their hands. Manners will help them get along.

Maintain boundaries. While it might be tempting to tell your child that it hurt when she said your new dress was gross, don't muddy the discussion by introducing your emotional life. Instead, keep to what is and isn't acceptable. According to Diane Ehrensaft, Ph.D., author of Spoiling Childhood, "It's better to say 'It's not okay to talk to me that way.' Children hunger for, and need, your guidance."

Next: Tips that teach

3 easy ways to teach why manners matter:
1. Use examples your child can relate to. Try "If you don't say thank you, it sounds like you're being bossy."

2. Ask how she'd feel. Sometimes a child needs to be reminded that she's not the only one who gets her feelings hurt. When she forgets to say "please" before using her brother's crayons, try asking how she'd feel if he used one of her toys without permission.

3. Avoid "Because I said so." This response won't help kids learn about caring and respect. To stop rules from seeming arbitrary, explain why the polite way is the best way in a given situation.