A collection of comments by leaders in child psychology regarding their best empirically tested insights for managing children’s behavior:


-Simply put, giving attention to undesired behaviors increases undesired behaviors, while giving attention to good behaviors increases good behaviors, says Alan E. Kazdin, PhD, a Yale University psychology professor and director of the Yale Parenting Center and Child Conduct Clinic.

-Research also suggests that parents should learn to ignore minor misbehaviors that aren’t dangerous, such as whining about a sibling not sharing or a toddler throwing food on the floor.

-Parents are also more effective when they read up on child development to understand the misbehaviors that are common for each developmental stage, says Sheila Eyberg, PhD, a psychology professor at the University of Florida.

-Three decades of research on time-outs show that they work best when they are brief and immediate, Kazdin says.

– Try to plan and structure activities to prevent a child’s challenging behaviors.

-Parents receive some of the best parenting advice every time they take off on an airplane, says Palmiter: If the cabin loses pressure and you must put on an oxygen mask, put one on yourself first before you help your child.

-Try to spend at least one hour a week—all at once or in segments—of one-on-one time with each child, spent doing nothing but paying attention to and expressing positive thoughts and feelings toward him or her.

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