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Top 5 Strategies to Teaching your Children to Behave

Dad talking to son

​​Children are great learning machines, but they learn more through experience than they do from their parents talking. Below are five strategies for teaching your children how to behave.

  1. Teach children acceptable and unacceptable behavior immediately after they have do or don't do something. ​Don't wait.
  2. For important matters such as commands or instructions speak less; one or two words for every year the child has been alive is more effective than an elaborate rationale.
  3. Be very clear. "Would or could you," is not as clear as "you have to."
  4. Use positive motivation way more than punishment.  
  5. Create a positive learning environment. Four to five pleasant interactions to one unpleasant direction.

"The general rule, especially as it pertains to behavior, is that children learn by doing things," says Dr. Pat Friman, Boys Town Director of Clinical Research. "They need what they have done to change their experience in certain ways, primarily in a pleasant or unpleasant way."

This content was created by Boys Town expert Pat Friman. To learn more about him, visit his expert page here.