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How can I make sure that my child understands why certain behaviors are not acceptable?

Hey guys,

I'm a first-time parent and I'm struggling with getting my child to understand why certain behaviors are not acceptable. It seems like no matter how many times I tell him not to do something, he just keeps doing it.

For example, he's been grabbing toys from other kids at daycare and hitting his little sister when she tries to play with him. I've explained to him that this is not okay and that it hurts others, but he just seems to ignore me.

I really want to make sure that he understands the reasons behind the rules and consequences, but I'm not sure how to do that effectively. I don't want to resort to punishment or yelling, but I'm running out of ideas.

Have any of you experienced this with your own children? How did you handle it? Is there a certain technique or approach that worked well for you? I'm open to any and all advice. Thank you!

All Replies


Hello there,

As a parent of two young children, I completely understand the challenge of ensuring that a child truly understands why certain behaviors are unacceptable. One approach that has worked well for me is turning to books and other forms of media to help reinforce important messages.

There are a ton of great children's books out there that tackle topics like sharing, empathy, kindness, and respect. Reading these books with your child or setting aside dedicated time for reading can be a great way to reinforce important values and encourage discussion around what the characters are doing in the story.

Similarly, there are also a number of educational shows and videos designed for young children that can help illustrate positive behaviors and what they look like in practice. My kids love watching shows like Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, which is specifically designed to teach young children lessons about empathy, communication, and conflict resolution.

Of course, incorporating media into your parenting strategy shouldn't be the only approach you take, but I have found that it can be a helpful supplement to verbal explanations and other forms of active engagement with my children.

I hope this suggestion proves useful to other parents struggling with similar challenges!


Hello everyone,

I understand the challenge of making sure that a child truly understands why certain behaviors are not acceptable. One thing that has worked for me is giving my child a sense of ownership and responsibility for their actions through positive phrasing.

Instead of simply telling my child not to do something, I try to phrase my expectations in a way that emphasizes the positive outcome from good behavior. For instance, instead of saying "don't hit your sister", I might say "we show our love for each other by being gentle and kind."

I've also found it helpful to praise good behavior when I see it, and to use those positive moments as opportunities to talk about behavior expectations. By positively reinforcing good behavior and discussing why it's important, I've seen my child start to internalize those positive messages and make better decisions.

Additionally, incorporating a child's interests into the discussion can help make the message more engaging, and can help them be more willing to listen. For instance, if a child is interested in animals, phrases like "we treat our friends like the animals we love" can help contextualize the message in a way that makes sense to them.

I hope someone finds these tips helpful!


Hello everyone,

I have also struggled with getting my child to understand why certain behaviors are not acceptable. One approach that has worked well for me is using logic and reasoning to explain why a behavior is not acceptable.

For example, if my child is hitting their sibling, I might say something like, "When you hit your sibling, it hurts them physically and emotionally, and we don't want to hurt the people we love." This type of explanation helps my child understand the consequences of their actions and makes the lesson more meaningful.

Additionally, I have found that incorporating the child's interests into discussions about behavior can be an effective way to get through to them. For example, if your child loves superheroes, you could talk about how a superhero wouldn't behave in a way that hurts others, and encourage them to be a hero by making good choices.

Finally, I think it's important to have realistic expectations - young children are still learning and may need to be reminded of rules many times before they start to consistently follow them. It's important to stay calm and patient while reinforcing positive behavior, and remember that every step in the right direction is progress.

I hope this helps!


Hey there,

I have been there too and it can be super frustrating to get through to children who seem to resist authority. One thing that has helped me is to try and understand why my child is behaving in a certain way. Sometimes it's because they're not feeling heard or they're seeking attention. So, one thing you can do is to actively listen to your child when they are telling you something. If you give them attention and show genuine interest, they might be more willing to listen when you talk to them.

Another thing I have found helpful is to model the behavior that I want to see in my child. So, if I want my child to share toys with others, I try to make a point of sharing things with them or with others in front of them. This helps them learn by example and see that sharing and being kind is a good thing to do.

Finally, I'd like to stress the importance of consistency. It's important to make sure that everyone who is in charge of your child is on the same page and following the same rules. This way, your child will know what to expect and what will happen if they don't follow the rules.

I hope these tips help!


Hi everyone,

I can definitely relate to the struggle of getting a child to understand why certain behaviors are not acceptable. One technique that has worked well for me is to use storytelling to teach important lessons.

For instance, I might share a story about a child who was mean to his friends and how he realized that his behavior was hurting others. Seeing a relatable character go through a similar situation can sometimes be more effective than simply telling your child what to do.

Another approach that has worked for me has been to model the behavior I want to see in my child. For instance, if I want my child to be respectful and kind to others, I try to exemplify that behavior in my interactions with others. Children often learn by imitating the behavior they see around them, so being a good role model can go a long way.

Lastly, I think it's important to avoid shaming or overly punishing a child when addressing unacceptable behavior. Instead, I try to use positive reinforcement whenever possible, praising good behavior and offering encouragement along the way.

I hope these tips are helpful!


Hey there,

I can totally relate to this struggle! It can be really difficult to get through to kids, especially when they're still learning how to communicate and express themselves.

One thing that has worked well for me is using positive reinforcement. Instead of just telling my child what not to do, I try to focus on what I want him to do instead. So in the case of grabbing toys or hitting his sister, I might say something like "Let's try sharing the toys nicely with our friends" or "We don't hit, but we can give hugs instead".

I've also found it helpful to explain the reasons behind the rules in a way that my child can understand. For example, I might say "We don't hit because it hurts other people and we want to be kind to our friends and family".

Another approach that can work well is giving your child choices. So instead of just telling them what to do, you can say "Do you want to play with this toy or this one?" or "Would you like to give your sister a hug or a high-five?". This helps them feel like they have some control and can be more willing to cooperate.

Above all, it's important to be consistent with your expectations and consequences. Make sure your child knows what behavior is expected of them and what will happen if they don't follow the rules. And don't forget to praise and reward good behavior when you see it!

Hope this helps!


Hi everyone,

I can definitely understand the dilemma of making sure a child understands why certain behaviors are not acceptable. One thing that's worked for me is to avoid simply telling the child what not to do, but instead make sure they know what they should be doing instead.

For example, if the child is hitting their sibling, instead of just telling them not to hit, you could say something like, "When we're upset, we need to use words to tell our sibling how we feel." This approach has helped my child understand that there are alternatives to the negative behavior.

I've also found that using visual cues can make a big difference. For example, when trying to reinforce the importance of sharing, I might put stickers on toys and designate them as "shareable." This helps the child recognize what they should share and has made it easier for my child to understand and put the concept into action.

Finally, I've learned the value of being patient and consistent in reinforcing positive behavior. Children don't always learn quickly, but with repetition and practice, they can develop a better understanding of expectations.

I hope this helps!


Hey there,

I've also had my share of struggles getting my child to understand why certain behaviors are not acceptable. One approach that has been helpful for me is to use metaphors or simple examples to explain why we expect certain behavior from them.

For example, when trying to explain why sharing is important, I might use the analogy of a pizza - sharing is like having a pizza and making sure everyone gets a slice, otherwise there might be hurt feelings or fights. When the child can relate to the example, it makes it easier for them to understand why a certain behavior is important.

Another technique that has worked for me is to offer choices to my child within acceptable boundaries. For example, if we don't want them playing with a particular toy, we might offer them a few alternatives to choose from instead. This helps make them feel empowered and less likely to push back against our rules.

Lastly, I believe in the importance of follow-through when it comes to consequences. If a child misbehaves and we give them a warning, then they need to be shown the consequences of crossing that line. Whether it's a time-out or losing a toy, demonstrating that there are negative consequences for poor behavior can help reinforce the message.

I hope others have found these tips helpful!

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