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Make no bones about it: this behavior needs to be dealt with very strongly. If your child is grounded for 24 hours as part of the consequence and he happens to be involved in sports, make him miss practice for a day as part of the consequence of his actions. Don’t let anybody manipulate you by saying they “need to be there.” The most important thing here is that kids understand that there’s no excuse for abuse. I promise you as a parent, missing one day of practice is not the end of the world. What’s more important is not letting your child call you or his siblings those foul, foul names. If your child is not involved in sports, then have him lose his electronics for a few days. The best way to handle that is by saying, “You can’t have your phone back until you don’t call your sister those names for 24 hours.” If your child calls his sister a foul name again six hours later, it becomes 48 hours without the phone. And he has to go to his room and write a letter of apology. By the way, when I say letter, I mean a brief paragraph. And what the letter has to say is, “This is what I’ll do differently the next time I want to call you a name.” It should include an apology, but also, more importantly, he should make a commitment not to do it again.

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