Margaret answers a question from a listener whose daughter has become sneaky about things that are supposed to be off-limits.
Today's question comes from Elizabeth:
How do you address sneakiness? Having some trouble with rule-breaking lately. Things that are not totally off-limits but do have limits, like candy or screens, are appearing in bedrooms after the adults go to sleep. It's driving me batty and I'd appreciate any advice!
Sneakiness in our kids can really set us off as parents. The idea that our children would directly defy our carefully established rules is often really upsetting.
The good news? Our kids, especially when they are young, tend to be really, really bad at being sneaky. This means that we're going to discover the wrappers or the left-behind screens they've been attempting to hide pretty much every time.
So how do we react?
Margaret suggests a three-step approach:
By taking the emotion out of your interaction, and giving your kids consistent negative outcomes, you'll remind them of the boundaries that exist, and make the sneakiness and boundary-testing less interesting.
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