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Avoiding the Specifics

When parents take issue with a child's behavior, for example saying something like, "Stop being fresh," they think they have communicated effectively about what their child to do, but they actually haven't. When parents use general phrases like these, the child might know that they disapprove of their behavior but have no idea what, exactly, they are objecting to, explains Dr. Pickhardt. Instead, be specific in your correction: For instance, you can say something like, "Stop being disrespectful by interrupting me when I'm speaking" or "Stop acting fresh by making such a mean face at me." That way, your child will know exactly which behavior to change.

(CREDIT: Thomas Northcut/Stockbyte/Getty)
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