1. “Because I said so!” is never an adequate answer – Every time I use “Because I said so!” I get bombarded with “Why?” over and over until I give up. My kid does not believe that just because I feel that whatever I am telling her is important, that it is actually important. I have learned that every command must be accompanied by a rock-solid list of reasons as for why my kid needs to do what I say.
2. Power trips get you nowhere – It may feel satisfying to force my authority on my child, but it rarely gives me the result I am looking for. My need to feel powerful is always undermined by my child’s ability to resist my authority.
3. Temper tantrums make everyone look foolish – Being 3 years old means that my kid is in prime temper tantrum territory. She screams and cries, I go nuts trying to get her to stop, we both look crazy. Temper tantrums are best avoided, especially if the reason for them is something not dangerous or fragile. If she wants to wear green socks, pink pants and a blue sweater, I am not going to stop her.
4. “Time-outs” only work in certain circumstances – You can’t be a one-trick pony and only have one discipline technique in your book. Time-outs are great but they don’t always work. Get creative and have a back up plan.
5. Compliments are like desserts = ALWAYS NECESSARY! – My kid can’t go to bed without dessert. Sometimes dessert is a triple-decker hot fudge sundae, sometimes it is peas, corn and green beans with butter (I haven’t broken the news to her that vegetables aren’t technically dessert). Dessert just makes everything better and puts a good note on the end of the day. A big compliment, or even a small one, can make a big difference to how you feel at the end of the day.
6. Don’t treat people like they are idiots – My kid knows when I am being patronizing and treating her like a baby. She hates that. Even when she acts like a baby, I have to be careful and treat her like a big girl.
7. Don’t choose favorites – I only have one kid but she knows when mommy isn’t happy with her. I have to be careful not to treat her better or worse than her behavior deserves.