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Substitute helpful comments for criticism and put-downs

Children who hear “put downs” can come to feel hopeless, and may stop trying to cooperate. When your child misbehaves, she needs “help-outs” instead of “put-downs.” “Help-outs” make her feel you love her and you know she can learn to do better. “Putdowns” do just the opposite.

Here are some “help-outs”:

  •  Here’s a sponge. I’ll help you clean it up.

  •  That’s hard to do. Let me do it with you.

  • I’m proud of you for trying that. Hold it with both hands next time and it may not fall.

  •  That is a dangerous thing to do. You could fall. Let me hold your hand.

Avoid “put-downs” like:

  •  I knew that would happen if I let you do it alone.

  • Can’t you do anything right?

  • You’re being a brat.

  • Why do you always drop things?

  •  You never pick up your clothes.

  • Won’t you ever learn?

  • Can’t you see that’s dangerous?

Listen to yourself. Try to use “help-outs”—not “put-downs.”


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