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How to Handle a Misbehaving Child

Hello Dr. Laura,

Recently I was cheering you on as you interrupted a dad who called about his son who misbehaved at a sports event and asked why he didn't remove his child from the game and leave! Go Dr. Laura! We need more parents to be responsible for the little people they are raising.

As I listened, memories of my own two sons who are now grown ran through my mind. My eldest has always been quiet and respectful. My youngest son was very bright but I always said "He has great brat potential; I have to constantly keep him in check!"

When they were 3 and 4, I took them for a haircut. My oldest son sat respectfully as his hair was cut.  My youngest then climbed into the chair but began flinging his arms and legs around and screaming in his brattiest voice "No! I don't want you to cut my hair!" I bent down to my son's level to talk with him, and stated very clearly, "You may not hit kick or yell at this woman. She is doing her job, which is to cut your hair. Your job is to sit respectfully and calmly until she is finished. If you can't do that, we will leave and you will not get a treat from her when we go." But my son began screaming and flinging himself about again. I said "We're done!" I stood him up and as we walked to the register the beautician quietly asked "Do you still want me to offer your other son a sticker and a lollipop?" To which I replied "Absolutely!"

When she lowered the jar down to my sons' level, they both reached for a lollipop. I put my hand in front of my youngest son's hand and said "These are for little boys who sat respectfully and calmly and got their hair cut. You did not do that." This brought on the water works. After paying, I said thank you and as we reached the door my youngest asked "Can we stop at a store and get a treat?" I replied "Treats are for boys who sit calmly and respectfully to get their hair cut. You did not do that." As we exited, I was quite certain people in the next town could hear my son's screams.

Shortly after arriving home my beautician called to ask if I had given in and stopped to buy my son a treat, to which I replied "Absolutely not!" She laughed and said, "I wish more parents were like you." Any embarrassment I may have felt was gone in that moment. I knew I had done the right thing.


Tags: Behavior, Children, Doing the Right Thing, Parenting, Read On-Air, Respect, Response To A Call, Values
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