Teaching Your Children to Behave

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There's a right way and a wrong way to teach your child acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Boys Town provides five tips for parents and child care providers to create a positive learning environment.

The general rule, especially as it pertains to behavior, is that children learn by doing things.

Boys Town releases advice for parents on teaching children to behave. The national child care organization, started over 90 years ago, says children are great learning machines, but they learn more through experience than they do from their parents talking.
1.    Teach children acceptable and unacceptable behavior immediately after they do something or don’t do something of which you approve. Don’t wait.
2.    For important matters such as commands or instructions speak less; one or two words for every year the child’s age is more effective than an elaborate rationale.
3.    Be very clear. “Would or could you” is not as clear as “you must.”
4.    Use positive motivation more than punishment.
5.    Create a positive learning environment. Four to five pleasant interactions to one unpleasant direction.
Boys Town counsels families and schools across the country on best parenting and discipline practices. These strategies incorporate those teachings and can be used for effective parenting in the home. “The general rule, especially as it pertains to behavior, is that children learn by doing things,” says Pat Friman, Boys Town Director of Clinical Research. “They need what they have done to change their experience in certain ways, primarily in a pleasant or unpleasant way.”

You can find more information on the subject at http://www.parenting.org/friman

The Boys Town National Hotline also offers free advice to parents 24/7. Call 1-800-448-3000.

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Kara Neuverth
Father Flanagan's Boy's Home
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