- Give more praise. Research has shown that parents are heavy on the criticism and light on the praise. Thank and praise your children for minor daily things, and lighten up on the criticism. Appreciate your children for who they are.
- Be interested in what your children are doing. On a recent episode of Parenthood, the father of one boy said, “I would have loved for my son to be interested in baseball, but he was fascinated by bugs. So I got interested in bugs.”
- Use positive incentives to get your children to do what you want. It you’re accused of bribing, remind your child that a bribe is giving someone a large amount of money to do something illegal.
- Don’t lecture. Be concise. Research has shown that teens tune out after 11-15 words. (My daughter admitted that she tunes out after she hears the word “clean.”)
- Divide chores into two categories: non-negotiable (go to school, do homework, be safe) and negotiable (when and where to do homework, which chores to do, etc.)
- Don’t accuse. When there is an issue, state the problem without accusing, and brainstorm solutions together.
- Spend quality time with each child several days per week, doing something he or she likes to do. This does not need to cost money. Put your phones away during this time.
- Talk to your children respectfully and expect the same treatment from them.
- Pick your battles. If working with your own child on schoolwork is too stressful, get an outside person.
- Use humor whenever possible, and don’t forget to have fun.