Would you trust parenting advice from people who have no experience at all and yet may be the best-qualified people on the planet to help you? You should.

These experts are your children. And while they’ve never parented a day in their lives, they know what works for them and what doesn’t.

Every child is different and parents need to really understand each child. Our children are trying to tell us how they feel— it is our job to pay attention. But this does not mean kids should run the house. Quite the opposite. They are begging for us to set rules, enforce them fairly and be consistent. A content child is one who knows the boundaries and can predict the consequences.

There are dozens of critical things that parents must know to parent properly and get the most out of every situation with their children— regardless of their age. Tapping into these parenting tactics can enable every parent to survive and thrive.

10 Things Kids Wish Their Parents Knew

  1. I don’t want to be the boss— You are the boss and I like it that way. No matter how much I protest, I need to know that you are in charge. This makes me feel secure. No 2 year old should ever be running a house. Don’t be afraid to enforce the rules. I need you to set boundaries.
  2. Be united or I will divide you — Mom and Dad, you need to get on the same page or I will use you against each other. I am smarter than you think and will manipulate you if you do not present a united front. You need to agree on the rules and enforce them together.
  3. I will do anything for your attention. If you reward my bad behavior by only paying attention to me when I misbehave, I will keep doing it. Don’t train me to whine and beg by giving in. Let me know what behaviors are not acceptable and teach me that I can earn your attention by behaving well. Notice me getting it right.
  4. Tell me what you “do” want— stop telling me what not to do; tell me what you expect. I can follow a positive statement so much easier than a negative one.
  5. Quit pushing for straight As. Don’t zap my enthusiasm for learning by obsessing over grades. Encourage me by supporting my efforts and teach me to delight in discovering new things. Tests will teach me to perform for a grade, not to embrace new information. I was born with a love of learning. Help me hold on to that.
  6. I want “NO” to mean “NO”— I may not like some of them, but I want you to teach me the rules of our home and insist that I follow them. Please be consistent. Don’t change a “No” to a “Yes.” This just confuses me and trains me to pester you to try to change your mind. Say “No” when you need to and stick to it.
  7. Don’t parent me like my siblings— I am not like any other child. I am unique. I want you to see me for who I really am.
  8. Be my cheerleader. Embrace my failures as the pathway to my success. Remember how you jumped and shouted for joy when I took my first steps and fell down? Let me know that you will always be there, ready to pick me up and tell me to try again. I will never outgrow the need for this.
  9. Whisper and I will listen. Stop yelling and say the important things softly. When you yell, you are teaching me this is an effective and proper way to make a point. I will learn to yell back. Train me to listen and not to block you out by whispering when you want my attention.
  10. I am not your “do over”— don’t try to live your life over through me. I am not you, and you need to let go of the illusion that I will like what you like. Let me be me!
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