Advice for Parents

Monthly advice to parents covering different parenting problems. Every month a different problem with a solution.

Tip #1: How Not To Scream at Your Children 

When you scream or yell at your child, you are at that moment probably feeling angry at what they might have done and may feel helpless. You don’t need to do this. Use your anger constructively by giving them an appropriate consequence.

By the way, many parents I counsel say they “talk” to their children when they do something wrong. This will not work. There has to be a consequence, or else the child will repeat the behavior. And remember the rule of thumb when disciplining:


By the way, some advice here: If you over punish your child, you will come across as being cruel and your children will hate you for this, and they will be right to do so. If you under punish, you will be ineffective.

The trick to not getting to the point of screaming at your children is simple. Use the “force.” The force in this instance is the power of your station in life, the parent. If your child is deliberately offensive or naughty, you discipline him or her by taking away some special thing only you can give him or her. For example, driving him/her to the mall or taking him/her to the movies, or denying him/her their games or computer time. If the child gets angry about this, that’s a good thing because you know you have gotten to him/her. Of course, they will be angry and upset but that’s the price they pay for being naughty.

The trick here is that the denial must be something that really bothers them, something that they really love. If they pretend that they don’t care, don’t fall for this. They care, but they don’t want to admit it and thereby give you more power than you already have and are using on them. Wait them out and they will crack and the force will be on your side.

Once they capitulate, don’t gloat. Just reward them for compliance and make them apologize. This apology makes them responsible for their actions. Let them repeat what they did that was offensive and then thank them (this ‘thank you’ is really a reward, or and acknowledgment of what it took to admit defeat).

Next month: Tip #2: How to get your child to comply more easily and consistently. 

The crucial and most powerful psychological strategy at the core of getting your child to do as you want them to do.