Positive Reinforcement: 9 Things You Shouldn't Say to Your Child
Learn what phrases to banish from your vocabulary and how to talk so your kids will really listen
"Stop Or I'll Give You Something to Cry About!"
Threats, usually the result of parental frustration, are rarely effective. We sputter warnings like "Do this or else!" or "If you do that one more time, I'll spank you!" The problem is that sooner or later you have to make good on the threat or else it loses its power. Threats of hitting have been found to lead to more spanking -- which itself has been proven to be an ineffective way to change behavior.
The younger a child is, the longer it takes for a lesson to sink in. "Studies have shown that the odds of a two-year-old's repeating a misdeed later in the same day are eighty percent no matter what sort of discipline you use," says Murray Straus, Ph.D., a sociologist at the University of New Hampshire's Family Research Lab.
Even with older kids, no discipline strategy yields surefire results right off the bat every time. So it's more effective to develop a repertoire of constructive tactics, such as redirection, removing the child from the situation, or time-outs, than it is to rely on those with proven negative consequences, including verbal threats and spanking.
Next: Why you shouldn't leave it til dad gets home