Do’s and Don’ts with Children

(The Nationalist, 15 November 2002)


If you want to drive a car, you first have to go to a driving school and attend lessons, both about the theory and the practice of driving. If you want to be a parent, it is assumed that you don’t need lessons from anyone; it is supposed to come naturally. Isn’t there something odd about that? Considering the problems that exist in society around children, isn’t it all to the good if parents are willing to learn from each other about parenting?

Here are a few tips, not from me, but culled from the shared experience of parents.


  • Do notice your child’s good behaviour.
  • Do listen to your children.
  • Do give children the opportunity to express their feelings.
  • Do make your message clear.
  • Do give reasons for your decision.
  • Do be realistic in your expectations… without dumbing down.
  • Do practise what you preach.
  • Do encourage children to devise their own solutions to problems.
  • Do remember that your child is a person too.
  • Do say sorry if you’ve said or done something you regret.
  • Do put yourself in your children’s shoes sometimes.


  • Don’t give lots of attention to behaviour you don’t like.
  • Don’t rely on bribes.
  • Don’t use threats, or shout.
  • Don’t ridicule a child.
  • Don’t compare your child with others.
  • Don’t discipline children without explaining.
  • Don’t be afraid to negotiate.


(From We can Work it Out: Parenting with Confidence, a booklet to support parents in managing children’s behaviour, published by Save the Children, London, 2000)