Here’s an example: Your daughter has made a mess with her dolls and refuses to clean it up after you have asked her time and time again. Finally, in a moment of frustration, you tell her that if she does not clean up the mess right now, you are going to throw all of her dolls in the bin. You know the minute you say it that you would not do such a thing, but it’s too late. The words have already come out of your mouth. Now what do you do?
First of all, always try to stop and think about what you are going to say to your child. Telling your child that if she does something one more time, you are going to lose your mind, will not change what she is doing. You must state a clear direction or expectation to get a favourable result.
If you’re trying to get your child to stay in his bed, instead of saying, “If you get out of bed one more time, I am going to get really mad,” say, “I expect you to stay in your bed all night”. This is a clear expectation.
If you are trying to get your child to eat his vegetables, instead of saying, “If you don’t eat your peas, you will sit here all night,” say, “There will be no snack tonight if you don’t eat your peas.” This still gives your child the choice to eat his peas or not, but he also knows that there if he does not, he will not get his nightly snack.
If your child is running around in the supermarket store, instead of saying, “If you don’t stop running, you cannot watch television when we get home,” say, “Will you help me find the biscuits that we like?” You are distracting him from his negative behaviour and offering something positive for him to do.
If your child is screaming in the car, instead of saying, “If you don’t stop screaming, we will go back home,” say, “I cannot drive safely while you are screaming, so I will pull the car over and we will not go to the park until you can stop.” This will let your child know that his screaming has a negative effect and there is a consequence.