Your child hits his little sister. You step in to correct him. And you’re right. Hitting is unacceptable, and it’s your job to teach that lesson.

On another day, though, your child helps his sister do a simple puzzle. He holds her hand as she walks up the stairs. Are you noticing that too?

A child can’t thrive if the only attention he receives is for what he does wrong. It is so important that parents take time to recognize his successes, his attempts and his good behavior, too.

“You’re so patient with your sister while she learns to fit puzzle pieces together. Thanks for showing her how to do it.” “You were so gentle as you walked your sister up the stairs.”

Simple words like these mean the world to your child. They reinforce for him the kind of behavior you expect. And they motivate him to keep trying.

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