Parenting Coach

Practical ideas for social, emotional and behavioral challenges

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Help your child respect rules.

What you can do

Help your child understand that everyone has to follow rules and respect boundaries. Explain why a specific rule exists, and listen carefully to his concerns about it.

Make clear that even though he may feel like he’s being singled out, the same rule applies to everyone. Work on strategies together to help him to get better at controlling his behavior.

What you can say

“Jacob, all of us sometimes wish we didn’t have outside forces setting boundaries for us. Schools, parents, governments and religions all have their own set of boundaries and rules.”

“I agree that sometimes rules don’t seem to have a purpose, and it stinks that we have to follow them. But if you really look at most of them, they make sense. Look at speeding limits, for example. I would love to get to Grandma’s house faster, but I don’t want to get a speeding ticket so I slow down and that makes me a safer driver.”

“Rules help guide us so we can be responsible and productive members of society. If you go over the boundaries or break the rules, then usually something not so good happens. I appreciate that right now you think more than a few of the rules are dumb. But they honestly are set for good reasons and we all need to abide by them.”

Why this will help

Children with learning and attention issues often feel like teachers and other adults are targeting them unfairly. Understanding that rules exist for everyone and are created for important reasons will help your child change his perspective and see how he fits into the bigger picture.

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