"Don't touch that ... stop pushing buttons ... quit running in the house ... leave the dog alone ... put that down ... ," Each of these is a common phrase in a busy home with little ones. Children are extremely curious and if you are not careful, you may find yourself sounding like a parrot. I want you to try an experiment. My hope is that by implementing the following suggestions the heavy burden of managing a household of little ones, or even one child, can be made light.

Charles M. Schwab, a successful business leader in the early 1900s had a powerful way of leading his employees. Schwab explained, "The way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement. There is nothing else that so kills the ambitions of a person as criticism from superiors." This powerful lesson in leadership can also apply to our family relationships. As we lovingly encourage our children we will find greater peace and harmony in the home.

Replace criticism with praise

Instead of using phrases that confine like, "stop," "don't," "quit," or, "no," use words that empower. Remember, a person is best developed through appreciation and encouragement. Years of telling a child, "No," will eventually produce an adult that has no ambition. Ask yourself, "Why do I want to stop my child?" If the reasons include, he might break it, he doesn't know how to use it, I am tired or I don't want him touching it, then perhaps you can spend some time teaching him the safe way to fulfill his desire.

Instead of saying, "Don't," try saying, "Do it, like this." Then, show them how to do it. Next time your child is getting into something, take a look at the situation. If it's not something that is going to permanently injure him, let him have the experience. Praise and encourage your children when they try new things and are safe in their activities.

Understand wants

This might sound silly, but it needs to be said. When a person does something, it's because he wants to. People are driven by their wants and can accomplish anything when they have a burning desire. How do you feel after someone says, "No," when you want something? Your children and spouse feel the same way when you criticize or confine them. Children want to participate, learn, experiment and test the boundaries of their environment. Be a mentor and set them free to explore their surroundings. If you don't, someday, when your child is older, you may just wonder why he or she doesn't want to do anything in life. Inspire your child to want great things.

Teach consequences

Sometimes a child cannot foresee the end result of his desires. As a parent, you have a great deal of experience to draw from and can help nudge your child in the right direction. The cost of an action can outweigh the desire of something. Teaching your children how the consequences of a specific course of action can influence behavior in a positive way. A child must understand the why behind your instructions. The why is probably the most important thing you can explain when telling a child not to do something.

We all want our children to be better than we were. This is a delicate process that cannot be forced. Our children will make their own decisions. You can serve as an advisor and a role model to encourage them and express appreciation for them when they do something good. Remember to use encouragement and appreciation to keep the fire of curiosity alive in your children.

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