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Always Counting to Three

Many parents love to count to three when they want results and sometimes, it can be a good motivator, giving kids a cue to transition and parents a consistent and level-headed disciplinary response. But there's a downside to this method. "Counting to three can reinforce that a child really doesn't have to listen the first time; it gives him 2, 2½, 2¾, 3 chances before he has to take action," explains Amy McCready, founder of Positive Parenting Solutions and author of "If I Have to Tell You One More Time." If that's the case for your child, then McCready recommends that you get eye-to-eye with your child and be very clear about what you want him to do. "If he doesn't respond after the first request, get eye to eye again and give an 'either-or' statement," she says. "For example, 'Either you can stop throwing sand or we will leave the park.'"

(CREDIT: Steven Errico/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty)
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