Explain how they are misbehaving before disciplining them
Sometimes we rely on direct commands and explicit instructions that emphasize the power differential between ourselves and our children: “Just do what I say!” or “Because I said so!” This is understandable. We get tired and we feel we don’t have time to stop and think about how to phrase an explanation that is appropriate for our child’s abilities and age.
Remember, though, the more a child understands about a given situation -- cause and effect, why something is important, and so on -- the more he can use that information to make solid judgments in the future. It is better to say, “If you leave your bicycle outdoors, it will get rusty when it rains tonight,” than “Put your bike in the garage.”