1…Treat your child or teen like another adult who has an equal say in how things are done. Treat your home as a democracy, where everything must be fair and equal. Answer your child’s accusations by offering explanations that show how reasonable you are.
2…Find fault with your child and let them know about it over and over and over again. If they do something positive, let them know it’s not enough. Let your tone of voice reveal how frustrated, angry, stressed or resigned you feel because of them.
3…Pretend your child has no reason for their behavior. Ignore his or her unique needs or the challenges they may face everyday. Are they being picked on at school or by a sibling? Do they fear abandonment? Are they stressed about an upcoming event? Is your home too chaotic?
5…Don’t treat your child appropriately for his or her age. Make long explanations to a three year old about why you’ve set a certain rule. Assume a teen wants to be just like you.
6…Expect your child to logically, rationally accept your reasonable rules. Parents expect common sense from children who are quite young (4 or 5), too young in the first place, or from young adults (up to early 20’s) who have a long track record of doing things that don’t make sense.
7…Keep trying the same things that still don’t work. Like repeating yourself over and over , talking at them rather than with them, or screaming. (Don’t be embarrassed; we’ve all done this.)
9…Make them responsible for your feelings. If you lose your cool and blow out over something they did (stress pushes parents over the edge sometimes), insist they do the apologizing.