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One of the tough things about parenting is that it is your duty to help your child develop in the right direction. Indulging a child’s bad behaviour or laziness lets the child down because the rest of the world will be far less ready to bend. None of us want to spend our lives instructing, limiting and guiding our children, but a certain amount of it is essential. Nobody comes out of the womb a fully educated and civilized human being!

So how do you change your child’s behaviour without being in a constant battle, which is equally ineffective?

The technique I use is called Future Perfect. You focus on the pattern that you want to see in your child and praise them for their progress towards it, even if really they have a long way to go! It is even more powerful if you compare them to other children.

For instance, you might want your children to be in the habit of helping to clean the house. Now you can pay for that or demand it each week, but I would suggest trying Future Perfect. To do that, you get everyone cleaning the house, one way or another. Once some cleaning has been achieved, you say something like “you know my friends are amazed by helpful you guys are. They can only dream of getting their children to help the way you do.”

Now your children will psychologically align helping around the house with being amazing children who are better than other children (and more loved because of it). And it will be true too!

I call it Future Perfect because initially you might need to swallow a bit as you say it. But you will be amazed by how your children come to identify with these things and get pleasure from them. So it is good in every way.


David Morgan is CEO of Oxford Learning Solutions, publisher of the Easyread System. Easyread is an online course that helps children with dyslexia, auditory processing disorder, and highly visual learning styles improve their reading and spelling through short daily lessons. Find out more at or on Facebook at