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10 Commandments of Good Parenting

Does your child have behavior problems? Your relationship with your child likely needs some attention.
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The 10 Principles of Good Parenting continued...

5. Establish and set rules. "If you don't manage your child's behavior when he is young, he will have a hard time learning how to manage himself when he is older and you aren't around. Any time of the day or night, you should always be able to answer these three questions: Where is my child? Who is with my child? What is my child doing? The rules your child has learned from you are going to shape the rules he applies to himself."

"But you can't micromanage your child," Steinberg tells WebMD. "Once they're in middle school, you need let the child do their own homework, make their own choices, and not intervene."

6. Foster your child's independence. "Setting limits helps your child develop a sense of self-control. Encouraging independence helps her develop a sense of self-direction. To be successful in life, she's going to need both."

It is normal for children to push for autonomy, says Steinberg. "Many parents mistakenly equate their child's independence with rebelliousness or disobedience. Children push for independence because it is part of human nature to want to feel in control rather than to feel controlled by someone else."

7. Be consistent. "If your rules vary from day to day in an unpredictable fashion or if you enforce them only intermittently, your child's misbehavior is your fault, not his. Your most important disciplinary tool is consistency. Identify your non-negotiables. The more your authority is based on wisdom and not on power, the less your child will challenge it."

Many parents have problems being consistent, Steinberg tells WebMD. "When parents aren't consistent, children get confused. You have to force yourself to be more consistent."

8. Avoid harsh discipline. Parents should never hit a child, under any circumstances. "Children who are spanked, hit, or slapped are more prone to fighting with other children," he writes. "They are more likely to be bullies and more likely to use aggression to solve disputes with others."

"There is a lot of evidence that spanking causes aggression in children, which can lead to relationship problems with other kids," Steinberg tells WebMD. "There are many other ways to discipline a child, including 'time out,' which work better and do not involve aggression."

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