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Words to Use with Your Kids Every Day

Words for Special Circumstances

  1. I'm sorry. Parents need to acknowledge their own mistakes and express regret whenever they cause their child unhappiness or distress. "I'm sorry I got soap in your eyes," or "I'm sorry I wasn't listening; tell me again," or "I'm sorry I can't read any more stories to you; I have to make a phone call now." By expressing your sincere regret, you are showing your child that you are being considerate of her feelings and providing her with a model of good behavior as well.

  2. No. "No, don't do that; you might hurt someone," or "No, we don't behave that way," or "No, we don't have enough money to buy that." When parents have a hard time saying 'no' to their children, these children may grow up without knowing how to respond to limits. Parents can provide children with some freedom of choice (for instance, let your child pick out his own outfit, or let him decide what he'd like to eat for lunch), but be prepared to set boundaries.

  3. That's enough. "That's enough TV," or candy, or roughhousing, or arguing. This phrase sets limits and paves the way for your child to develop a sense of self-control. Sometimes a "time-out" period is necessary if your limits have been reached and your child isn't responding to the verbal message you are trying to send.

  4. How do you suppose she feels? Asking this question provides an opportunity for your child to consider the effects of her actions on another person, and it gives her the chance to develop empathy toward others. When you and your child read stories or watch TV shows together, look for opportunities to talk about the feelings of others.

  5. This isn't working. Can you think of another way? Considering alternative ways of behaving in difficult situations is one of the steps of problem solving – an important skill that is useful throughout life. Your response to problems that arise in daily life, at home, or at work provides a model of behavior for your child.



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