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Leaving Out the Learning Lesson

"It's easy for parents to say 'Don't do that!' 'Stop that!' or 'That's wrong!' but these commands only stop the action -- they have no educational value," says Dr. Pickhardt. Adds McCready: "'Don't'" commands are discouraging and require kids to double-process -- they have to first consider 'What does she not want me to do?' and then figure out 'What does she want me to do instead?'" It's better to just cut to the chase and calmly tell your child what specific action you'd like her to take: So, for instance, instead of saying, "Don't run in the house!" it's more effective to say, "Please walk when you're in the house so you don't get hurt!" Bottom line: Make sure that when you discipline your child they learn why a behavior is inappropriate or dangerous and what a better alternative is.

(CREDIT: Barry Rosenthal/Taxi/Getty)
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