What to do when kids test their boundaries


You can expect more from older children in terms of knowing what behavior is acceptable and what isn’t. Sitting down to run through what you expect of them with your older children can’t be a bad thing. If there’s a recurring discipline problem, try putting some house rules in place.
Of course, kids are kids and at some point they’re sure to test the boundaries. The one strike and you’re out technique could help you discipline children who’ve outgrown the naughty step, but who sometimes need to be reminded of the consequences of their behavior.

Disciplining older children
Make sure that you and your child are both aware of what has happened and be clear on why her behavior is unacceptable.

Don’t give a warning. Remove your child from the room and tell her in an authoritative voice that her behavior is unacceptable and that she can only come back into the room once she has apologized.
If she comes back into the room without apologizing, don’t enter into a discussion; remove her from the room again and repeat that she can come back once she’s ready to apologize.
Repeat this step on any subsequent attempts to re-enter the room.
Once your child has apologized, praise her, give her a hug and let her join in the activity again.
Before you both return to the room, it’s worth trying to find out why the bad behavior occurred, or whether there’s something particularly worrying her. This might be difficult to answer, especially after you’ve just given her a telling off, so make a mental note that either you or your partner should try to talk through the incident with her at a later date.

If communication has hit a real low with your child, you might want to try something like the video diary or thought box technique to get you both talking again.

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