Observe natural interactions in the environment, particularly with regard to rules and standards of correctness. Play with an adult can also provide an opportunity to observe reactions to not following rules or doing something out of bounds.
Observe how the child responds when a family rule is broken (for example, “Don’t leave the door open or the dog will get out.”) An adult may also create a situation to elicit guilt. For example, have a doll or other toy that is “rigged” to have a part come off when manipulated. The child will think she broke the toy.
Watch the child’s response to the transgression. Does the child admit to making a mistake? Try to fix it? Apologize? Ignore the adult or run away? Avoid talking about the situation or get mad at the adult?
Children of parents who are not punitive in relation to breaking rules or not meeting standards have children who are more willing to admit their transgressions and talk about them. Help parents develop ideas for how to handle transgressions or mistakes in the home.
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015
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