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Health & Parenting

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10 Commandments of Good Parenting

Does your child have behavior problems? Your relationship with your child likely needs some attention.

The 10 Principles of Good Parenting continued...

9. Explain your rules and decisions. "Good parents have expectations they want their child to live up to," he writes. "Generally, parents overexplain to young children and underexplain to adolescents. What is obvious to you may not be evident to a 12-year-old. He doesn't have the priorities, judgment or experience that you have."

An example: A 6-year-old is very active and very smart -- but blurts out answers in class, doesn't give other kids a chance, and talks too much in class. His teacher needs to address the child behavior problem. He needs to talk to the child about it, says Steinberg. "Parents might want to meet with the teacher and develop a joint strategy. That child needs to learn to give other children a chance to answer questions."

10. Treat your child with respect. "The best way to get respectful treatment from your child is to treat him respectfully," Steinberg writes. "You should give your child the same courtesies you would give to anyone else. Speak to him politely. Respect his opinion. Pay attention when he is speaking to you. Treat him kindly. Try to please him when you can. Children treat others the way their parents treat them. Your relationship with your child is the foundation for her relationships with others."

For example, if your child is a picky eater: "I personally don't think parents should make a big deal about eating," Steinberg tells WebMD. "Children develop food preferences. They often go through them in stages. You don't want turn mealtimes into unpleasant occasions. Just don't make the mistake of substituting unhealthy foods. If you don't keep junk food in the house, they won't eat it."

Likewise, the checkout line tantrum can be avoided, says Natale. "Children respond very well to structure. You can't go shopping without preparing them for it. Tell them, 'We will be there 45 minutes. Mommy needs to buy this. Show them the list. If you don't prepare them, they will get bored, tired, upset by the crowds of people."

"Parents forget to consider the child, to respect the child," Natale tells WebMD. "You work on your relationships with other adults, your friendships, your marriage, dating. But what about your relationship with your child? If you have a good relationship, and you're really in tune with your child, that's what really matters. Then none of this will be an issue."

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