Feb 172012

Disciplining Your Child: How, When, Why

So last week my wife and I attended a Muir Mommies: Back to Work (Working Moms and Babies 3-12 months). This is a bi-weekly class held in the evenings at the John Muir Women’s Health Center, in Walnut Creek. The topic for this evening was Discipline! This was something that we hadn’t really considered yet as Thomas was just a few days shy of six months old at the time. We had only the week previously started saying “No Hands” to Thomas during his rice cereal feedings because he would put his hands in his mouth while full and covered in cereal and we are still trying to teach him the mechanics of how we would like him to eat.

Wondering what the class would be like for us and being MY first Muir Mommies class at the Women’s health center, we attended. We arrived to a room full of children aged five months to one year old. The turnout was good and there wasn’t much space left for us to take so we sat next to the instructor for the evening. As she began, we realized that maybe this wasn’t the best place for us to sit because she likes to punctuate her message with loud, but short yells and exclamations to get her point across. Thomas doesn’t do very well with these quick outbursts in general but we were already seated and the class was started. (Note: Thomas did fine throughout the class.) So what was the first lesson that she shared with us? If you don’t want to yell at your children for getting into everything, childproof your home… do it now, childproof everything! She went on to explain that as infants and into toddlers, their minds are like sponges and they absorb everything and therefore they want to explore everything! As parents we should encourage that as much as possible, but we need to allow for safe exploration within our homes. By childproofing as much as possible, we don’t have to discipline as much because there is less there to harm our children.

The next lesson that she provided was that you should use the word NO as little as possible during this age of their lives (six months to toddler). While they may hear it and part of their brain understands, the rest of their brain is saying EXPLORE EXPLORE EXPLORE and will more likely than not over-rule the 10% that said “no we don’t play with those things”. So when we say  “NO, don’t touch the lamp!” (to use her example) They hear the “no” and also “touch the lamp” at the end. As a child with a still-developing brain, they don’t always process all of it as we do, so sometimes they understand the no and most times they do not and hear the “touch the lamp” part because that is what 90% of their brain is telling them to do. So the lesson really was about not using the word No, or using it as little as possible.

The No lesson segued into a “Say what you mean and mean what you say” lesson. Instead of using the word No to convey your message, tell your child what you want them to do instead and mean it! So for Thomas during his feeding, we now tell him “Hands down” issued somewhat as a command, sometimes we move his hands down for him, other times our tone of voice will refocus his eyes on ours and stop the flailing of food covered fingers. The message from the say what you mean and mean what you say lesson is to be true to your word. If you are only going to stay at the park for 30 minutes or three times down the slide, adhere to it. Do not give in to your child during a tantrum, outburst, or other probing of your defenses. If your child realizes that you will cave to them, you have lost your ability to be in control. This doesn’t mean that you cannot empathize and share those feelings with your child, IE “I understand that you are unhappy and want to stay at the park/your friend’s house/have cookies… but Daddy/Mommy said we were only going to do this and then we were going home etc” This may not help in the moment but in time it will sink in.

Also in this lesson she shared that you can provide your child with a choice when it is time to go or the have an outburst and the example she gave was “Do you want to take my hand and walk to the car with me, or do you want me to carry you to the car?” She said here never to make threats like “I’ll give you something to cry about” or other things because those methods will only scare your child into obedience. Plus no one wants to be “that parent” do they? She mentioned that if your child chose not to take your hand to the car and instead ran away, you grab them like a sack of potatoes and go to the car because the choice was made in their action. Carrying them like a sack of potatoes is the best way, she said, as your children will inevitably be unhappy, kicking and/or screaming… but don’t give in. You can again explain to them in the car that you understand their frustration, but you offered them the choice to hold your hand when it was time to go, but they chose otherwise.

After these lessons she went around the room asking people to share a behavior their child was doing at home that they wished to correct, biting, throwing things, yelling etc. There was a lot of good information shared and most of the tips she provided would lead back to one of the messages/lessons she went over during the hour-long class.

You may not live near the same area I do, but I will wager that there are similar classes available to you in your area, you will just have to find them. Check with community centers, hospitals, even mommy groups to see what is around you.

Have a story to share or example of discipline in your household? Please do share it! Leave a comment!

Please note: I am not a professional. Take the information listed here as you would anything else you hear from a friend or read on the internet. 100 different people will have 100 different ways of disciplining their children and my wife and I have only just begun using discipline in our household.

  51 Responses to “Disciplining Your Child: How, When, Why”

  1. I agree with explaining what you mean, like hands down as opposed to no hands but as they get a little older it is important to have a word like “no” that makes them stop in their tracks. For example, if they are moving towards a hot stove or getting ready to run into the street you need to be able to say “NO” and have them freeze for their own safety.

    Great post, enjoy every moment you can with your son!

    • I’m sure that eventually we will need the word NO to keep Thomas safe, the steps within this article were aimed at children age six months through eighteen months or perhaps two years old. Older kids do need to know exactly when their parents “mean business”… I sure hope that Thomas understands that this is for his safety… I’m sure he won’t, but perhaps someday he will.. :)

      • I had the dubious pleasure of being observed parenting by a close friend of my husband’s who happens to be a child development expert. This happened during a dinner, not as a scheduled consultation. He noticed how many times I said “No” to keep my son safe. My husband’s friend said that “No” is pretty much meaningless to a very young child and that “Stop” is a far more effective word to use when trying to get a child to not touch a candle flame, run into the street, etc. So, now I say “stop” too often! Good post.

        • Thanks for this! We have started saying “stop” in our house instead of trying not to say “no”! Oddly enough “stop” comes out much more in a ‘command-like’ tone anyways although Thomas doesn’t really react to that yet.

  2. Dave, I enjoy your blog! Three things:

    1-I agree with a lot of her advice but think some of it is over-thinking. I get how no one wants to be “that parent” but the assertive whisper in the ear, giving my insistent direction, on the only choice, usually worked well for me. Learning what works takes time and it sounds like you guys already have great instincts on what to do.

    2-Three was the hardest age for me to handle with my son. His pediatrician suggested the book “1-2-3 Magic” and it really worked wonders. We did the counting game (there are different variations) for several years and then I didnt need to use it anymore. Funny thing happened the other day…at 13 he was doing something annoying and I said “ONE…” and he instantly stopped. LOL I have no idea where it came from?! We were both surprised and later laughed… I remember the book mentioning you could use the technique into adulthood :) And finally…

    3-Thanks for the new fun facilitator tip @ “she likes to punctuate her message with loud, but short yells and exclamations”

    Keep writing!

    • Learning what works for your child is a big step I agree, the focus of the class was to provide some direction for the parents if they didn’t have any… so they had somewhere to start, a foundation to build on.

      I’m not looking forward to the toddler age… I mean I am but I hear so many horror stories that I am scared too…

      I have a question, what happens when you get to 3??? I always wondered that…

      • The idea behind is it that when used consistently, the behaviour in question, stops at 1 :) But at 3, you carry them like a sack of potatoes to an undisclosed location :)

        • Ha – when my son was 2yrs I counted to 5 as that’s what it took for us to achieve ie him to behave and me to stay calm! Always praise the good choice at whichever part of the ‘countdown’ they achieve But always have to follow through on consequence and when he was 4 I remember him asking me ‘whats will the consequence be?’ meaning he was willing to consider the options! What a hoot. By the time he was 5 I started countdown at 3,4,5 as who has time for a 5-count. By the time he was 10 I could just put up my hand with 3 fingers then 4 fingers to show enough was enough and he got the message that by the time 5 fingers showing he should be doing the right thing. It’s a great technique but best used less and less and with more and more humour as they get older to show that you’ve had enough of the behaviour but help them retreat with dignity. If your consequence is a bit over the top consider giving them the ability to ‘earn back’ eg bedtime

          • Ha I think that is interesting that your son was deciding whether the action would be worth the consequence or not… I’ve heard from friends that their kids start negotiating with them too… Fun times ahead!

  3. Sounds like some good tips.

  4. Sounds like some great advice. I found my boys always respond well to positive motivations rather than negative threats. Kids are different, too. What works for one of my boys, does not work for the other so we have had to make adjustments for each.

    • Thanks for the reply! I know a lot of this is going to be a wait and see approach, but we were hoping to get a head-start on it ;)

  5. I have found with my children that giving them a choice is frustrating to them until they’re about 5-6 yrs old. What I do is ask instead of tell so that they’re not directly disobeying. “Can you hold mommy’s hand?” (Most the time they just grab it but sometimes they don’t want to and say “no”). If they say no, then I say, “Okay, then hold onto mommy’s pants (placing their hand where it’s a comfortable level) and don’t let go.” They still had a choice, but they only had to think about one at a time. I only give commands when I mean it. This saves lots of tears. But…when I give a command, it’s serious stuff. If I say “stop!” and they keep walking, they get a firm, quick slap on the thigh and a “Mommy said Stop. You have to mind Mommy so you don’t get hurt.” Stop is a huge deal w me! I have three kids and sometimes more tagging along. If we’re headed out the store and I see a car when they’re skipping right for the road–I can’t get to them in time (I limp). So I command Stop! All of my children stop in their tracks without fail. Just to clearify–I’m not a regular spanker. That’s reserved for serious offenses or future training in life-treatening obedience. I haven’t had to spank my children but about once or twice a year when they decide to test.

    • Thanks! Apparently “Stop” is a popular one and we have already started using this in our house

      • Yeah. That word is the only command word I can think of that I use, but it’s never a game to me. I see parents saying stop and then the kid runs. Eek! Can you imagine that happening in a busy parking lot? I treat it the same when I’m in my own yard so they’re trained. If I don’t really care as much, I just say, “Hey guys, slow down so Mom can catch up.”

        • Good idea! As Thomas isn’t mobile on his own yet we haven’t had to worry about that yet, but it will be here very soon!

  6. You got some good advice! I particularly like the way she explained about “no” vs. saying what you WANT. I felt like we must have done something right because my son used the word “yeah” for about 2 months before he started saying “no”. He was a very agreeable toddler; we had only the most fleeting problems until he was about 2 years 9 months and became determined to order us around instead of cooperating.

    You might appreciate my article on impulse control and understanding consequences in babies and toddlers.

    Tracy V. mentioned counting to 3. The basic premise is, “Do it before I count to 3, or I will help you do it.” For tasks that an older child might be purposely not-doing to get you to do them (like putting away toys), if you have to help there is a negative consequence (like you put the toys away out of reach until tomorrow). I think this is a fine strategy that works well with many kids; it was very effective on my brother and me. However, my son responded well to it only until he was 3 years 6 months and tried to use it himself to get his parents to obey him! Here is our two-part story about counting to 3.

    Adventures in Gentle Discipline by Hilary Flower is a really great book about discipline of young children that sets a foundation for family harmony later on. My son is 7 now and still tries to order us around quite often, but I think that is more his personality than a sign that gentle discipline doesn’t work; he does cooperate much of the time, and one of my favorite things about him is that he tends to behave very well in public (including in places many people would assume a child his age can’t be expected to behave appropriately)–it’s when it’s just us that things get difficult!

    • Thanks for such a great reply! I know we are just scratching the surface of discipline but my wife and I want to be on the same page and raise safe, respectful, but curious, active and explorative child who won’t be afraid to come to us with questions.

  7. I love this post. As I just did a post on disciplining (which is how I discovered your blog), this is something that weighs heavily on my mind. I’m passionate about positive parenting and disciplining and know that it can be done. In my opinion, it’s not justifiable putting hands on anyone… especially a learning, absorbing infant or toddler. In other words, I agree with the message you’ve conveyed here and sounds like you guys got some great info on how to properly rear your child.

    Besides…. children who are raised in loving homes (i.e. loving discipline as opposed to corporal punishment) tend to be happier, well-adjusted adults. Just because people choose to discipline without resorting physical pain doesn’t mean they don’t implement boundaries. It’s actually the oppposite.

    Great site!!

    • Thanks :) I was just sharing what was covered in a class we went to but we are already trying to include those things our in home because we enjoyed them so much and they “felt right” to us!

      Parenting has to feel right to you and should be natural too, interspersed with “wait we need to stand firm here…”

  8. I enjoyed this post. You’ve included a lot of sensible ideas! God bless you as a dad. It is so delightful to read how much you enjoy your family and all the work you do to meet their needs. Thomas is very fortunate to have the parents he has! You and your wife sound like a very committed team. Team work is so important to a successful marriage, and after being married 31 years, I can say that being a team is also a bunch of fun! Very satisfying.
    Thank you for visiting my blog, Journey North Character and sending a note of appreciation. I’m coming at parenting from the other end. My husband and I have an empty nest, and so we’re investing in the lives of young families coming along. I miss having children in my home. No matter the hassle and the stress, remember that these days with your chicks around you are the very best days. Savor all you can. We savor the memories we have.

    • Thanks for the reply… Part of my hope with this blog is that I am able to document a good portion of what raising Thomas was like and I want to be able to look back on this and read all of this, perhaps this will be around one day when Thomas has kids of his own too or something, who knows!

  9. Great post and thank you for sharing your learnings. I wonder if any of us actually hear ‘No?’ very effectively vs a positively framed request :) I liked that you are encouraging parents to seek out positive parenting courses in their local communities and our experience (Napier Family Centre, Hawke’s Bay New Zealand (!)) is that more and more Dads are attending which is fabulous.

    • Thanks for the comment.. I was really surprised at how easy-going and helpful the class was! More people should attend them, I know they are everywhere, parents just have to seek them out in their local areas.

  10. Thank you for a wonderful post! I came to visit because you “liked” my post.
    Parenting is the most difficult job in the world. If you consult 100 books and experts, you will probably get 100 different approaches.
    Which one is best? I’d say to pick and choose what works for you…love the “mean what you say and say what you mean”.
    I think if parents live by the 3 C’s…they can’t go wrong: Compassion (love, love, love them), Consistency (mean what you say and say what you mean…if it is no to something at 9am, it should be no at noon), and Consequences (even young children need to understand that they are responsible for their actions and behaviors).
    Best of luck…it is a wonderful, sometimes hair-raising, journey. :)

  11. Also in this lesson she shared that you can provide your child with a choice when it is time to go or the have an outburst and the example she gave was “Do you want to take my hand and walk to the car with me, or do you want me to carry you to the car?” She said here never to make threats like “I’ll give you something to cry about

  12. Absolutely impressed with parents who would take the time to learn anything that helps with parenting! About the hand in mouth … Can I just say that I used to try to get my kids to not put their fists in their mouth when feeding during the weaning stage. If I remember correctly they do that to try to imitate the strong sucking reflex they are used to. It will pass, you’ll see and Mealtimes won’t be so messy anymore. Well done for the fantastic investment you are making in raising your son. I will certainly be following this blog!

  13. My biggest discipline tip for parents of toddlers under age 2 (as the mom of a 2 year old I now know everything, hahaha) – is to see discipline as a work in progress at that stage. Do not expect “results” in the usual sense of the word. They may not show ANY signs of responding to your discipline techniques, but they are taking it all in. They just don’t have the impulse control to follow through, 99% of the time.

    I disagree with some of the advice you gave… I don’t see anything wrong with saying “no” or “don’t.” Again, it depends on the kid, but mine needs short & simple messages and “don’t touch” or even just “uh uh uh!” interrupts him quickly so I can redirect to something else.

    Giving choices is good, but I think that’s for older toddlers. Even giving two choice would be overload for my 2 year old. But “say what you mean and mean what you say” is a good one. I try not to issue directions that I don’t intend to back up with actions – so I won’t tell him to hold my hand if I really am okay with him NOT holding my hand, does that make sense? I don’t want to give him the message that my instructions are always optional.

    • Thanks for the reply :)

      I think the best advice is use what works best for you… My son is just coming up on seven months and I was sharing what came up in a discipline class we attended. Some points I did like and there was valuable information in there.

      The reason she said not to use “no” is because of the way we structure our sentences in English (basically) “No, don’t touch that lamp”. With the “no” coming first, by the time their toddler brain processes it, they also process the end which is “touch the lamp” and that is not the message we want last in their head :)

      Many others have replied that using the word “no” does work for them and others have shared that once their children learned to say the word “no” that they wished they had never used it…

      I appreciate you taking the time to visit my blog and comment, that means a lot to me :)

  14. Hi there! Fun stuff, eh? Considering how to discipline. I’ll share! I have young girls (21 months) and I did a post about how we employed time outs for a bit, but the way we’ve decided to “discipline” now is just to teach them, not to punish, as I’ve come to the conclusion that punitive actions are not for us. So that means lots of attention given to the babes, so they don’t feel they need to “get my attention” with bad behavior, and lots of repetition. I think your lecturers advice about avoiding the word “No” early on is pretty good. Some people recommend saying it as little as possible during toddler years too, but I do use the word “No” when it’s serious: no hitting, no biting, no touching the heater, followed always by an explanation and empathy. So “No biting. Biting hurts. I know it feels good sometimes to bite, but it’s causes your sister pain.” or the like. I do try to get eye contact for the conversation. This style of parenting feels right to me, and that’s important…we each need to find the right approach for us and our family.

    If you are interested in learning more about teaching your kids using respect and empathy instead of punishment, here’s just one of many, many awesome sites that I’ve found helpful (http://www.positive-parents.org/2012/01/skeptical-about-positive-parenting.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+positive-parents%2FbahS+%28Positive+Parenting%3A+Toddlers+and+Beyond%29). All the best to you!

  15. Learning to discipline is a dynamic process. As your son gets older, you might enjoy a book by Kevin Lehman called “How to Make Your Children Mind Without Losing Yours”. Funny, insightful, and applicable!

    Thanks for the post.


  16. Toddler age is not horrible. You will have your moments, but the good definitely out-weighs the bad. With my daughter, I have to get her to focus on me and then she is ok and most of the time does what I tell her to do. She is already very independent which is a little scary at first, but wonderful in the end b/c it gives you a little you time even when they are awake. I tried counting…didn’t work…the timeout chair works in some instances but not all of them. I do spank, but if you knew my child, you would understand. It’s not a lot and not very hard, but good enough that she knows that I mean business. When I say that I am going to do something i.e. take some away or throw it away b/c they she isn’t behaving properly, I do it. Because she knows that I mean what I say, she listens a lot better. Not too sure what is going to happen when she turns 3, so I will enjoy her being 2 right now and my son being 1.

  17. When your little guy gets a bit older, I highly recommend the Love and Logic classes.

  18. Visiting because you liked my post.

    I love to see other parents taking the time to learn and reflect. This sounds like a pretty neat class. I agree about how “no” is not processed the way we think it should be, at this age.

    About the eating — my gut feeling is that kids should be allowed to use their hands however they like to, unless they’re in danger or something precious to you is in danger… with feeding especially. It’s messy, for sure… but it’s part of how he is exploring food and the idea of eating, and it will ease the transition to self-feeding, and foster his interest in eating. I wonder what else you could do to minimize the unpleasantness of the mess? Some folks have an older baby naked waist-up for ease of clean-up. We used towel-bibs we could throw in the wash.

    I’ve been in the parenting journey five years now, and moving increasingly in the gentle / positive direction, and finding it resonates a lot with the person I would like to be, and that it’s really not permissive or impossibly idealistic, and even helps me deal with the stuff I find triggering or upsetting — i.e. a lot of times the issue is the way I feel about a behavior, and not the behavior itself, and the more I can deal with those triggered feelings, the more calmly, compassionately, respectfully, and effectively deal with the behavior, if it does turn out to need some guidance.

  19. As a small hotel owner over the years, I have had many children from various ages and families stay with us. For the most part, it is always a pleasure and the children are wonderful and considerate of all other clients staying with. The exception to that rule always lies in the fault of the parents. Parents who spend time with their children and who are willing to draw boundaries and hold to them seem to have wonderfully well disciplined kids and enjoy thoroughly their family vacations. I appreciate it takes a lot of work, consistency and time when they are younger, but the payoff is huge and will endure for years to come.

    I have three teenagers now, and remember the tougher toddler years, and just how precious they were at the same time. I would take my eldest to the grocery store, knowing that he would throw a tantrum when I responded “no” to the item he wanted. I picked him up, never yelling and wearing a smile on my face as I left the buggy behind, packed him in the car, went home and put him in time out for a period of time. This reoccurred a couple of times, but after that, he realized that “no meant no” and that his screaming would not change things. Whatever methods you chose to discipline your child, you will find what works best for you, and remember, each child is different. I had tried other methods, but after a friend recommended going to the grocery store without really needing to and to be ready to leave if my son misbehaved. This, for us, was the magic potion. It worked beautifully and the kids new the same boundaries held true at the park, zoo, friends wherever. It was wonderful!

  20. I really enjoyed your post about discipline…I found Dr. Harvey Karp’s books really helpful also…only this time it is with my granddaughter. It is not easier as a grandparent just different…so much information and different names for styles of parenting. It is nice to also read a Dad’s perspective.

  21. Great post. I was a Nursery School teacher and I’ve seen it all. Some children have so much control over their parents it’s incredible. YOU know what’s best for your kids. Providing your children with too many options in life is not the way to go. However, I do agree with your statement about letting them choose “this, or that”. I think this reasserts who is in charge, but at the same time, it shows the child that you still value their ability to make decisions. Some parents work so much that they don’t want to discipline their children. They aren’t around that often so they feel guilty about not giving in, so to speak. Letting your children get away with murder is not love. Discipline is love and at the end of the day, your kids are STILL going to kiss, hug, and tell you that they love you. Love your blog. Follow mine at theniftynanny.wordpress.com

  22. Great post. So helpful. Our daughter likes to pull the cats fur and I try to correct the behavior by taking her hands and stroking the cats fur and say nice nice….it seems to be working

  23. It’s good to see parents working on establishing boundaries early in their relationship with their child, however they choose to do it. Our first child (Rett) will be here in June, and while I don’t expect him to understand complicated commands by his third month (or even his sixth, really), I believe that babies and young children comprehend a lot more than we give them credit for. My husband and I both come from families that implemented corporal punishment, and see nothing wrong with it, as long as the parent understands the difference between the proper level of punishment (e.g. a spanking), and abuse (e.g. beating the child). Both of us also believe that corporal punishment isn’t something to be doled out for every transgression, or without prior opportunity for amending the behavior.

    I like that the instructor gave you all a way to establish boundaries without releasing control of the situation, especially in the “tougher times.” I often hear things in public (most often the grocery store!) such as, “Can you settle down for Mommy?” or “Can you not do that, please?” My favorite to hear when I was growing up was, “Do you want a spanking?” (Of course I do!) Giving a child a direct choice in their consequences allows them to exert their growing independence without negating those boundaries. Good tips! Thanks for sharing.

  24. When I started reading, I this “here we go again” feeling, because most of the posts on discipline revolve around making kids do what we want them to do and behavior modification, but this class is pretty good – adapt your environment for your child, treat your child with respect and keep your focus and words on the positive stuff.

    Do you really expect a baby not to play with food? It’s like asking a thirsty camel not to drink after 4 days in the desert. Exploring his mouth and his food with his fingers is excellent learning. When he’s figured it all out, he’ll stop. Nothing you can do about it that will make things better.

    The same holds for many other things, by the way. Let your kid behave like a child when he’s young. Plenty of time to “do the right thing” when he grows up.

    Great post!

    And thanks for liking my post “State of the Union”.


    • Yes we are letting him play with his food but there are many times where we want him to keep eating from the spoon. This has definitely been a learning experience for us and we have grown as parents too! :) Thanks for the comment!

  25. Enjoyed reading your blog … your son is lucky to have parents who take his upbringing seriously. We in India do things a bit differently, as do ‘Tiger Moms’ in China and French moms who bring up their ‘bebe’s [I’m sure you’re following the brouhaha in the press over Chua and Druckerman’s books:-)] I guess there are as many ‘right’ ways as there are‘wrong’ ones. The most important thing is what you’re doing already: being an interested and concerned parent. Once that’s in place, I think the parental instinct will lead you to do what is right – more than any teacher or class can.

    Thanks for visiting my blog, which is how I got to know of your wonderful posts.

    • Thank you for commenting.

      Yes I’ve seen the “Tiger Moms” and “French Moms” in the news lately. As you said, I think the best thing is to be an active parent, stay engaged, be concerned and interested. :)

  26. I so agree with this type of parenting. Positive parenting, I gave my daughter choices with somethings, clear expectations with others and no negativity. There is always a positive responce instead of a no. It works and you will be a more focused parent. It is important to be aware and involved with your child. My daughter is now 16 and it’s great. She is sweet, respectful and full of life. It is so much fun being her mom. Looking at your blogs it looks like your a great dad. Happy Parenting

    • Thanks Veronica! I hope that we have as much success with Thomas as you have had with your daughter. We know that once Thomas becomes mobile is the real test of our discipline and when it really begins!

  27. Interestingly, I was at a course on Effective Communication yesterday where we were advised to use the same tack with adults ie instead of saying ‘Don’t (insert undesired behaviour), to say what you do want someone to do, because they will hear the second part and do the very thing you don’t want.

    I have sometimes wondered how I would actually cope with a tantruming child in the middle of shopping, secure in the knowledge that I am unlikely to be in that situation. The word from the trainer was that when parents are in shopping mode, the parenting part goes out the window, so it’s no wonder the kids kick off sometimes. Apparently, you are supposed to involve them too – assuming you have the time and energy. Needless to say, he doesn’t have any children!

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