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How can I encourage my child to follow my rules?

Michele Borba
Psychology

I vividly remember overhearing one mother tell another about the “baffling” behavior of one of her eleven-year-old daughter’s guests at her slumber party. Apparently the girls had decided to watch a video, and the mom was quite surprised when her daughter’s friend joined her in the kitchen instead of watching the movie with the rest of the group. When she asked the child why she wasn’t with the other girls, she told her they were watching a PG-13 movie that she wasn’t allowed to watch. Then she explained quite matter-of-factly that her parents didn’t feel the content was suitable. What amazed me most was both mothers’ shock over the girl’s response and how neither could imagine their daughter doing the same thing. The girl’s response probably would not come as a surprise to most experts, though. Studies find that because the parents clearly explained the reasons for the rule, their daughter understood their view and abided by their standards. Many researchers contend that parents often don’t “plainly explain” the reasoning behind their standards strongly enough, so their children’s conviction to them is often weak. Kids need to know not only that we want them to do the right thing but also why we want them to act that way. Clearly describing why you set a standard helps enhance your children’s moral growth.

The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries

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The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries

Today show's Michele Borba's cures for difficult childhood behaviors In this down-to-earth guide, parenting expert Michele Borba offers advice for dealing with children's difficult behavior and hot...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.