Easy Ways to Get Your Child to Behave—and Want To
Between "You" and "I"
Blame the house
Such emotionally charged accusations as "Don't ever let me hear you call your brother that again!" are more likely to provoke resistance than matter-of-fact comments like "Name-calling isn't acceptable; our house rule says we treat everyone with respect." It's easier to get angry with a parent who's perceived as overly controlling than to do battle with an impersonal house rule.
In the same spirit, making simple observations and nonjudgmental statements about bedtime or cleanup will probably make it easier for kids to comply with the rules. Instead of saying, for example, "Your room is such a mess," try, "There are toys on the floor."
Use your "I"
Kids learn early on to tune out their parents' endless "no's" and nagging. So if your requests and commands aren't producing results, reframe them. Using "I" statements, tell your toddler what his actions do to you: "I get upset when I see you throwing food because I have to clean up the mess." (Just try not to whine when you say this!)
When you give a warning, continue to emphasize what you'll do: "I'll take away your plate if you throw your food again," and then follow through so it's not an idle threat.
As you focus on your own actions instead of harping on your child's behavior, you'll feel more in control, and so will he. He'll begin to see the connection between his actions and their consequences.
Of course, no discipline strategy can make kids behave perfectly all the time. But if you and your child are caught in a bad cycle, sometimes all it takes is a change in your behavior to bring out the best in his.