Bad  behavior includes any behavior that endangers  self or others; harms self or others, destroys property or lands one in jail.

IMAGE FROM Cargurus Blog

Much is made about the role of self-esteem in contributing to bad behavior.  I recently posted this quote by David Elkind, one of my favorite experts on children’s behavior.

Still, the studies do show that the better you feel about yourself, the kinder you are.  Being kind matters most.  I think part of the problem is the emphasis on feeling happy because you are praised and loved.  I think that works for the very young, but in time children need to develop a conscience.  Next they need to learn to please that inner voice. Doing so involves making the Right Choice.

Fellow blogger Jean Tracy offers a STOP plan as a way to preserve self esteem by thinking about the choices you make. I’ve incorporated her plan in a the following Parent Tip Poster.

From Jean Tracy’s Blog: Jean is a great tipster.  

Talking to yourself aloud so your children can hear, is a sideways trick to fill their little heads with some good advice.  Of course, I said “little heads” as bigger heads will use talking to yourself as a weapon.

I think one key to building a good conscious lies in stopping certain behaviors.  And like Jean Tracy I have a  STOP plan.  Here is mine:

A different STOP plan.  My suggestion for using both: use Jean Tracy’s as a discussion point  when the bad behavior has stopped and all is calm.


Tip one:  Praise or “only catching” them doing good is not enough.  Correcting bad behavior is as essential, punishments are part of correcting. The right punishment at the right time delivered in the right way is love delivered.  

Tip two: Never rely on just one disciplinary plan.  That is why the professionals fight spanking; it works in the short run, but as the child gets used to it (habituated as the “experts” say), parents begin to spank harder and harder and might eventually abuse.  Both my books offer a Chinese menu of choice.

Tip three: Always review why you stopped the bad behavior.  Amazing what some kids say when asked “Do you know why I punished you?”

Tip four:  Maintain the relationship. No matter what a kid has done, the relationship and its love has to go on.  Think of the worse case scenario – a teen ends up in jail. If the kid did the crime, the parents need to accept the kid must do the time.  Doing the time, does not mean family withdraws.  Family visits,  writes letters, sends we are thinking of you gifts, and plans next steps with the child who if in prison is probably an adult child.

Tip five:  As always examine your behavior.  Parents do not control everything, but if a parent does not make the choices that please their values,  children will most likely make the choices the parents make.


Parenting is difficult and often a struggle as you must know by now.  Teaching right behavior from wrong behavior is almost the hardest part.  My tips should help.  Practicing my Daily Emotional Fitness Program will help you remember what matters.

When you strive to do the right thing, you are modeling your values, your children. Most will stay strong when tempted. There are no guarantees that come with raising children, so  if you’re having a hard time, my advice is not to ignore that, get professional help.

As always, thank you for your support, it means a great deal to me.


DISCLAIMER: FORGIVE MY GRAMMATICAL ERRORS FOR I HAVE DYSGRAPHIAIf you need perfect posts, you will not find them here. I have dysgraphia which means that sometimes my sentence structure is not that easy to follow or I make other errors. Still, most people understand me. All of my books are professionally edited, but not all of my blog posts are. Thanks for your understanding and reading my work.


All my books are available on Amazon, and readable on any tablet, laptop, Mac, PC, e-reader or Kindle device.

When Good Kids Do Bad Things. A Survival Guide for Parents of Teenagers
Parents Are People Too. An Emotional Fitness Program for Parents
Tame the Test Anxiety Monster

Watch for my about to be released How to Hold a Successful Family Meeting.  This is a Tool Kit with templates and posters as well as an E-book.


  1. These are all good points. I would quibble a little self-esteem is a warn out concept and not worth reviving. Self-confidence is a function of a high incidence of taking on challenges. A great many challenges involve harmonizing my needs, values and interests with those of others, therefore, high self-confidence includes relationships with others which are mutually supportive. Therefore bad behavior goes down with self-confidence–self confident people hurt people less than people with low self-confidence–by definition. Praise is not that important or effective in building self-confidence–can be counter-productive.

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