When Kids Behave Like Kids, Don’t Punish Them Like They are Adults

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As a criminal defense lawyer and the mother of two girls, I have a very effective disciplinary tool at my disposal: I can take just about any undesirable interaction between my daughters and frame it as a crime.  If the older one smacks the younger one, it’s an assault. If the younger one takes her big sister’s earrings, it’s larceny. If they are both yelling and shouting at each other, it’s disorderly conduct.

Over the years, I’ve been able to advise them that this behavior not only breaks . . .

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