While getting their children to behave and listen looks like a piece of cake to some, for others it is a total nightmare. If you thought that children are born well behaved, let me burst your bubble; they have to be taught to be nice and behave. Check out how to be one of those parents everyone envies and how to make your child behave in 5 easy steps.

1. Be Firm and Decisive

Every parent feels bad when they don’t let their child do something the child wants. No matter how painful it might be for you, you sometimes have to do that.

You can’t just let your kids run around and do whatever they want. You also can’t get them everything they want. You may think that it is just a phase and that your kid will start behaving at one point, but trust me – as soon as your child learns that you can be easily controlled, you’re pretty much screwed.

It is very important to work as a team with your husband. You absolutely must not let your kid find out that one of you is weaker and run to that parent whenever the other one takes a firm stand. You both need to take the same stand and do and say the same things.

2. Use Secrets

Let me be clear at the beginning, this doesn’t mean that you should keep secrets from your kid. On the contrary, tell them a “secret”.

I found out completely by accident that little kids respond to secrets. My aunt and uncle were visiting and my little cousin woke up just as we sat down for lunch. His mother started getting nervous because she knew that he would not want to eat now, which meant that she couldn’t eat either. I called my little cousin aside and whispered that I wanted to tell him a secret. I shared with him a secret of how my mom, his aunt, worked so hard to prepare the lunch only because of him. The kid just smiled at me and sat down at the table.

You realize that this is not a secret at all, but the very fact that I called my cousin to tell him a secret made him feel big and important. Try this with your children and you’ll see that you can get them to do basically anything you want them to.

3. Avoid Scaring Your Children

Even though you can get your child to behave by threatening them with punishment if they don’t behave, this is not really the best idea. Trust me, I still resent my father for making me feel afraid of him my whole childhood.

Some parents even go as far as telling their children that they will send them away to the doctor, or that a scary neighbor will come and take them away if they don’t behave. Some kids tend to forget this really fast, but others tend to stay scared of the doctor or the aforementioned neighbor their whole lives.

Instead of trying to scare your kid, rather negotiate and be patient. Children respond better to calm negotiation and this approach has a longer lasting effect.

4. Taking away Their Toys

One of the things you can do is to confiscate your kid’s toys when they don’t behave. This usually works like a charm, and as they grow older, just substitute the confiscation with grounding.

Kids love their toys and they don’t like them being taken away. Toys provide comfort for kids and the easiest way to get your kid to behave is to take that comfort away. Trust me; your child will do their best to start behaving immediately, just so that they can have their toys back.

I know that this may sound harsh, but it is still a lot better than letting your kid run the household. You’re not doing them any favors by teaching them to be spoiled. It’s your job to teach them to be good people and good people need to behave.

5. Rewards

Kids eating ice cream

Make sure you reward your children for good behavior. Still, do not bribe them with money, but rather reward them with things like going out for ice cream or taking them to the zoo.

As soon as your child learns that good behavior comes with a reward, you can say that your troubles are over. Find out what is the one thing your child loves the most as a reward and keep that one for really special occasions, like when they pass the grade with straight A-s, for example. Use other smaller rewards for smaller things and make sure to choose a reward in proportion to how satisfied you are with your kid’s behavior.