Encouraging Good Behavior

Parenting, Child and Family Learning Network September 30, 2015 Print Friendly and PDF

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Have you ever wondered, “How can I stop my child from misbehaving?” The first step is to build and keep a great relationship with your child.

Young children have a lot to learn about what “good behavior” is. Very often, the poor behavior choices that children make come from their not knowing a better way. When your child makes mistakes, he needs you to teach him what to do instead.

You will be more successful in teaching good behavior choices if you have a strong and loving relationship with your child. Consider these suggestions for ways to strengthen your relationship with your child.

Spend time together.

Find time to play together. Let your child choose what to do together and be excited about it!

Talk with your child about something she is interested in.

There are lots of cheap, fun games and activities to do together like a go on a picnic, play at a park, or play a board game. No money required!


Listen to your child.

Ask your child to tell you about what he is doing or thinking, and then just listen. When you talk and listen, be sure to:

  • Get on your child’s level.
  • Avoid distractions (like your cell phone).
  • Maintain eye contact.
  • Use a gentle tone of voice.

Respond to your child in a way that lets him know you were listening. For example, “It sounds like you are really excited about playing with your friend!”

Be careful not to criticize or judge.


Express affection in word and action.

Tell your child how happy you are to see her.

Let your child know every day that you love her.

Show affection often in the way your child most likes.


These tips will help your relationship grow stronger by building trust, good will, and positive feelings. It’s important to be realistic, though. Even in strong relationships, children will do things their parents don’t want them to do. But because your child has learned to trust you, you will be more effective in teaching him better ways to behave.


For further information:

Building a Positive Relationship with Your Child

Positive relationships with your school-age child

Positive relationships with your teen


Author: Allen Sabey, Dept. Human Development and Family Studies, Auburn University

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.