1. It matters what you do. Your children learn from your actions, whether it is your health habits or how you treat others. Steinberg says, “This is one the most important principles.” “What you do matters…Don’t react to the impulse. Ask yourself: What am I trying to achieve and how likely is it to result in that outcome?
2. It is impossible to be too kind. Steinberg says, “It is impossible to spoil a kid with love.” It is not the result of giving too much love to a child that we think of as spoiling them. This is often the result of giving children things instead of love, such as leniency, lower expectations, or material possessions.
3. Participate in the life of your child. Being involved in your child’s life takes effort and time. It may also require reorganizing your priorities. This often means giving up what you love to do in order to help your child. You must be there for your child mentally and physically.
Participating in a child’s homework does not mean correcting it. Steinberg states that homework is a tool for teachers to determine whether the child is learning. You are not letting teachers know what your child is learning by doing homework.
4. Your parenting style should be adapted to your child. Your child’s growth should be your priority. Your child is maturing. Take into account how your child is growing up.
Steinberg writes that the same drive to independence is driving your 3-year old to say “no” all the time and is also what motivates him toilet-trained. Your 13-year old is also becoming more argumentative at the dinner table because of the same intellectual growth spurt.
5. Set and enforce rules. If you don’t set rules and manage your child’s behavior early on, he’ll struggle to learn how to manage his own behavior later. You should be able answer the following three questions at any hour of the day: Where is my child? Who is my child with? What’s my child doing? Your child will learn from you the rules that he must follow.
6. Encourage independence in your child. Your child will learn self-control by setting limits. Encourage independence and self-direction by encouraging her independence. She will need both independence and self-direction to be successful in her life.
Steinberg says it’s normal for children and their parents to want autonomy. Many parents confuse independence with rebellion or disobedience, and they make a mistake when they do this. Because it is human nature to desire control over others, children push for independence.
7. Be consistent. Your child’s behavior is not your fault if your rules change from day to day in an unpredictable fashion. Consistency is the most important tool for disciplining children. Identify your non-negotiables. Your authority should be based on wisdom, not power. This will make it less likely that your child will question it.