Parenting Tip: Focus on Children’s Actual Behavior, Not their Mood

sad looking girl

  • Have you ever had to say “no” to your children when they ask to do something?
  • Or have your children ever resisted doing something you tell them to do?

You use all your positive parenting skills to get them to cooperate. And when they finally do comply, they do so grumbling and frowning.

Many parents wonder whether they should address the complaints.

The tip for today is: Focus on your children’s actual behavior, not on their attitude or mood.

As a parent, you know how hard it can be to set a limit that your children obviously don’t like or to engage their cooperation to do something they don’t want to do. And they are often quick to let you know when they don’t like the restrictions or requests you make. But there are times when it is important for your children to obey you and follow your rules.

Remember that your job is not always to make your children happy, but to help them develop into responsible, caring people. And in order to do that, it is important that your children comply with your limits and requests.

There are a number of things you can do when your children protest:

  • First, allow some complaining; you can acknowledge their feelings.
    “You are really angry that you have to finish your chores before you play.”

  • Second, be clear, calm, and confident as you insist on the behavior you want.
    “We agreed that you would finish your chores before you watch your show.”

  • And finally, avoid getting distracted by their negative attitude.
    “Even though you are upset, you still need to finish your chores first.”

Even if your children grumble about the limits you set, you can choose to focus on the fact that their behavior ultimately reflected their compliance. Remember to highlight positive behavior and cooperation when you see it!


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