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Precious Beginnings - Rationales

Q. What do parents mean when they talk about "kid reasons"?

A. Kid reasons are positive statements describing what may or may not happen in the future as the result of a child's behavior. They are simple and brief so a child can understand them. An example would be telling your son that if he puts away his toys when you ask him to, he will be rewarded later with a longer playtime.

Q. My daughter always wants a reason for why she has to do what I ask. Does she need to hear a reason every time I ask her to do something?

A. No. However, it is quite natural and developmentally normal for young children to ask questions. Providing reasons will help your daughter see the connection between positive behaviors and positive results and negative behaviors and negative results. When giving a reason, try to focus on positive outcomes. She will be more likely to follow your instructions when she understands the benefit. For a child, potential rewards are better motivators than threats or demands.

Q. When I tell my son the reasons why we will, or will not, do something, he keeps asking why. What should I say?

A. Start by giving your son one brief, specific reason. If he still has questions, ask him to repeat what you said. If he repeats the reason and understands it, praise him for being a good listener. If he doesn't understand the reason, try rephrasing it. If he still asks why, but you feel he's just being difficult, redirect his attention toward something else.

Q. What's the difference between a reason and a consequence?

A. A reason explains why your child should or should not engage in a particular behavior. A consequence is the reward or punishment that your child earns when he or she engages in the behavior.

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