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  • Michael Milgraum

Posted by Dr. Milgraum on March 28, 2010

Wish your kids would listen to you better? Here are some strategies that may be more effective than reward and punishment:

1. Having a good quality relationship with your child is crucial. Are you making enough time for your children? Do you toss a ball with them in the backyard? Do you pull out the toys and sit on the floor and play with them? Do you hang out with them and listen to their music and ask what they think it’s about? Do you really try to listen to them before giving the lecture?

2. Having a regular, predictable routine and structure in the home can do wonders for accomplishing daily “have to’s.” Chores, homework, and bedtime routine should follow a regular pattern and, if it varies, according to the day of the week, post a schedule so everyone can see, learn and follow it. We are all creatures of habit, so get the kids in the habit of following the schedule, and there will be less need to prompt them for each step.

3. Set a good example. Kids do what they see more than they do what they are told. If your kids stay up too late or overindulge in sweets or are argumentative with their loved ones, have a look at your own behavior in these areas and see if you could make improvements.

4. Work on your relationship with your spouse. Kids behave much better when they see a parental relationship that is peaceful, supportive and loving. Do yourself and the whole family a favor and plan special connecting and unwinding times with your spouse. Take care of yourself and your spouse, and you both will be more calm and composed, even when the kids are difficult.

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