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A recent study on reducing gang violence showed that arresting the gang members didn’t work. Neither did the threat of long sentences.

What did work? Simply telling them to stop.

Your disobedient toddler or recalcitrant child is not a gang member but the principle is the same.

We must let our children know three things:

· What we expect of them.

· That certain behaviors will not be tolerated.

· How displeased we are if the child exhibits those behaviors.

No, we don’t sit our kids down and show them a PowerPoint slide of the above. We start with the young child by saying “No!” in a firm but calm and quiet voice. How can we use a quiet voice when the child is across the room and about to do something dangerous ? OK, you have to turn the volume up sometimes but try not to lose the firm and calm.

As the child gets older we help him or her conceptualize the meaning of a rule. So you don’t keep hitting your brother if Mommy isn’t around to see it and say “No!”

You don’t hit other kids, period. The rule is, “No hitting!”

It takes a while for children to learn all the rules of life so you will obviously have to repeat yourself. But taking a hint from the people who told gang member

to stop shooting at each other, you won’t ignore an unwanted behavior. You will say that it is not acceptable every time it occurs.

The goal is to raise children who will know the rules of human behavior and will obey them, even when Mommy is not around. They will have developed a CONSCIENCE, that little voice that internally tells us, “No!”
One of the most common parenting mistakes is parental waffling so our kids don’t really know what we expect. Some parents are so committed to treating their children lovingly that they forget certain behaviors are not lovable. And because 100% of kids will show an unlovable behavior, be sure your children always know that you are displeased.