Step 1: Identify the misbehavior

Young boy drawing on his face with a marker


What is your child doing that you want to stop? It is important that you and your child are clear about which behaviors are okay and which are not okay. If your child is doing something you do not like and want to stop, let her know by giving a warning that the behavior needs to change or a consequence will be used (see Step 2).

Be specific when you tell your child what you expect. Saying something like, “If you don’t play nicely, you’re going to lose your toys” is vague. You and your child may have different ideas about what “playing nicely” means. State exactly what you want to see your child do. You might say, “If you throw the truck again, I’m going to take it away.”

Page last reviewed: October 2, 2017