Guiding your child to behave in a positive manner can be as easy as 1-2-3. Here’s a way to adapt a business practice for family use, and it’s compelling in its simplicity.

1. Set a Goal
The first step is to meet with your children, and have them "buy in" to a mutually-developed goal. Explain to them that decisions and goals are made for one of two reasons. That is, to move away from an uncomfortable situation, or to move towards a desired goal. The latter is certainly the better choice.

2. Course Correction
Establish a routine of having meetings to discuss progress. If your child is off-course, point out that the specific conduct is not assisting them in moving towards the goal. This isn't about blame, and the session will be most effective when you sit down together eye-to-eye. Sitting at eye level sets the tone that this will be a discussion rather than an adult-imposed directive. Ensure that your child helps to create the solutions.

3. Catch Them Doing Something Right
This technique is highly effective because positive reinforcement boosts self-esteem, the most vital building block of character. Children crave and require love and attention in order to thrive. Researchers wanted to find out what was more effective with children, praising, criticizing, or just ignoring them. They found that children who were praised experienced a 71 percent rate of overall improvement. Those who were criticized improved by only 19 percent, and the ignored ones improved by just 5 percent. You have to admit that these numbers are significant. In another experiment, researchers behind a one-way mirror observed parents as they interacted with their children. In a specific time period, 433 occurrences of negative feedback were observed, whereas positive reinforcement was used only 31 times. Obviously, negative corrections are necessary when actions could lead to injury or damage. When you observe your child expressing the desired behavior, say things like: What a cleaver idea. I’m sure glad you are my son/daughter. I noticed that you ____ - Keep it up. You're getting better and better at that. You showed a lot of responsibility when you ______ . I appreciate the way you ______ . I like the way you ______ without having to be reminded. Now you’ve got it.

This simple 1-2-3 approach vaporizes tension and enhances both your parenting and leadership skills.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Brian Walsh is a clinical hypnotherapist and a specialist in accelerated learning. He helps people in their quest for personal empowerment by promoting brain-friendly strategies using his workshops, videos, teleclasses, books, and his self-hypnosis audio CDs.

He is the author of the bestseller Unleashing Your Brilliance and a contributing author to 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life. His website is