Explaining To Your Child Why Behavior Is Wrong May Not Always Work

Explaining to your child why their behavior is or was wrong might not be the best plan of action. University of Michigan researchers found that verbal reasoning, which explains why the behavior is wrong, isn’t the best option if the parent is loud and aggressive.

Professor of social work Andrew Grogan-Kaylor, who is also the study leader, says, “Positive discipline doesn’t always seem to have that many positive benefits. It’s more likely that the long-term investments that parents make in children, such as spending time with them, letting them know they are loved and listening to them, have more positive effects than nonviolent discipline. […] Verbal reasoning may have negative effects on children if it is not employed in a way that is developmentally appropriate for the child to understand why their behavior is inappropriate.”

Gaylor-Kaylor says the best way to discipline a child is to provide them with structure, keep the lines of communication open, and provide them with developmentally appropriate removal of privileges.