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It’s very important to try and set our children up for success, so finding solutions is much more important than dealing with things when they’re done.

However, what I do when I do have to respond to things is try to keep my cool and assign a positive intent. I try to figure out what they were thinking or feeling, and reflect that. “You sure were curious about what would happen if you swung that stick around. Can you tell me what you learned?” or, “You were really frustrated that your brother didn’t want to play and so you hit him.” If two people are involved I sit them both down and supervise a dialogue where they tell each other what they were feeling and set boundaries
with each other.

If your child is constantly pushing boundaries, I’d also try to keep him busy and make sure he has outlets. Outside play might be key. Is there a play set or a yard to run and jump in? Make sure your child is getting his energy out in constructive ways.

I also would make sure a child is making amends when he breaks something (earning the money to replace it) or when he hurts someone (doing something to return them to their pre-injury status). I don’t force apologies, but I do insist on insurance activities that restore someone. I’d also work with him on using his words so that he can better communicate.

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