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How to get your kids to listen? Dr. Phil answers

  • Dr. Phil McGraw says you have to appeal to your kids' greed
  • He says consistency is important

If you have kids, you know they don't always do what you ask them to do. So how can you turn that around? Natasha Curry talked with Dr. Phil McGraw, from TV's the "Dr. Phil" show, to get some answers.

Dr. Phil says if you want your kids to do what you ask, "You have to appeal to their greed."

Make them understand that if they do A, they get B, he says. It's OK to negotiate with your child, but parents should do it from a position of power, meaning let kids know "what they can do and not do."

It's not a one-way street, though: According to Dr. Phil, children need to know that they can control some things in a limited way. "Kids love self-determination," says Dr. Phil. He says if they understand that getting to watch their favorite cartoon is contingent upon brushing their teeth or picking up their toys, that's a negotiation of sorts, "but you're the one with the power."

 "What you're doing is letting them say, 'I determine what I get to do today, so they feel a sense of mastery over their environment and that's very important for a child's self-esteem and self-worth," he says.

Consistency is a big part of getting kids to do what you ask, according to Dr. Phil. "Look, a child has to be able to predict the consequences of their actions with 100% accuracy. So they need to know if I set the cat on fire, I get in trouble every single time," says Dr. Phil. And he says to remember that it applies to the positive and negative side. Dr. Phil says, "You can't say if you pick up your room, we get quiet time to read a book, and then not deliver, just like you can't say, if you don't pick up your room, you can't watch your favorite program and then do deliver."

Keep reading for more ways to Live Better Now.

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