1. Really listen…Listening creates clear communication by giving undivided attention and encouraging expression of feelings. Have real conversations, when you both listen and respond/react to each other.
2. Encourage family activities…A sense of belonging is developed by doing things together, from social activities like driving to the store, going on an outing, or doing something fun together, to household chores or projects.
3. Discipline constructively…It is important to give clear directions and to enforce limits on behavior. Use a positive approach: “Do____”, rather than “Don’t___”.
4. Be consistent…Discuss and post house rules. If they change, announce the change. Better yet, have a family meeting to discuss the changes.
5. Be clear…Say what you mean and mean what you say. Don’t try to tell the other person what you think it is they want to hear. Stop being a pleaser… you will never please everyone, least of which yourself.
6. Be reasonable and understanding…Be willing to hear your child’s point of view. Have logic and compassion. Use grace and truth. Speak the truth in love.
7. Be flexible…Bargaining is an effective tool. Don’t major on the minors. Consider the individual.
8. Be authoritative…Trust in your own common sense. If you are not sure about a decision, announce the need for some time to think about it. Then, do not hesitate or be indecisive; simply lead.
9. Develop mutual respect…Model basic trust by being honest and sincere yourself. Insist that all family members treat each other with honor and respect. Be the first to apologize and repent when you err.
10. Attend to your own needs…Maintain your individuality and cultivate your interests and talents. Treat yourself well, thus avoiding the martyr syndrome.
11. Maintain a sense of humor…Finding humor in life is an important aspect of personal adjustment. Humor is a decision. It reflects a positive outlook that keeps issues in perspective, and separates what is really important from what is not.