We need to set limits, but how do we do so while still retaining a positive atmosphere in the home? Here are some suggestions to use with young children:
Say a partial "yes"—Agree to some part of what he wants, as in: • "Yes, you can have that cookie - after you eat." • "Yes, you can go out - as soon as the room is orderly." • "You can roll the ball on the floor, but throwing the ball is for outdoors." • "You can hit/pinch/squeeze the pillow - not the baby."
Give a brief explanation of your feelings--Some children take longer to develop empathy. Without a lot of dramatics, let them know: • "I want to hear you, but it hurts my ears when you talk like that. Please use your grown-up voice and say again what you want to tell me." • "I would love to go, but my legs are so tired. It feels like my batteries need to be recharged. If I go to rest, then we can go out."
Talk to the body part--Children often get into an obsessive loop and have difficulty stopping whatever they are doing. Since they like to give orders, tell them to order the body part that is "acting up" to stop. Tell the child: • Tell your mouth: "Stop biting!" Or, "Stop talking!" • Tell your leg: "Stop kicking." • Tell your hand to: "Don't hit! Be gentle!"