1. Your kid might just be having control issues. Think about it: you control everything about that kid’s life. Where he lives, which friends he can play with, what he eats, what dishes he uses, what carpet he can walk across in his muddy shoes . . . it’s so oppressive! Give your poor kid control over as much of his life as possible.
2. Is there an imbalance of responsibility and privilege? I’m the oldest of six kids, and growing up I had the most responsibility, but no extra privileges. I had the most chores, I was the in-house babysitter, but I didn’t get to stay up any later or get any more sprinkles on my ice cream. This might sound stupid, but just reward your @#$% kid for her hard work. She’ll be more willing to help out and your other children might be motivated to good behaviors as well.
3. Let your introvert be an introvert. If your little man hates crowds, don’t force him to go to birthday parties so he can “learn social skills.” That’s how sociopaths are made. Let your little slugger spend time with friends in small numbers.
4. On the other hand, extroverts are cool, too. If your little lady thrives on social butterflying, give her positive outlets like play groups or dance classes. She’ll be less likely do crazy things to get attention. Like streak through the Target when she’s seven or through the campus commons when she’s 18.
5. Children can be addicts, too. If your kid throws an age-inappropriate tantrum when you turn off his Xbox, there’s a chance he’s addicted to the sensation of having his brain numb. The same goes for sugar, television, monounsaturated fats, glue, etc. Turn off the electronics, put away the candy, and toss that kid out into the fresh air.
6. Don’t let your kid be bullied. Teach by example and stand up for your kid so he can learn to stand up for himself. If your kid is the bully, respond to him the same way you’d respond to someone who was bullying your kid.
7. At the same time, don’t teach your kid to have a victim mentality. If you rush to her rescue whenever someone calls her a Poopy Pants Jackson, she’ll grow up to be a pansy who merits the names people call her. Teach kids to solve inter-personal problems.
8. Never ever ever let your kid believe that you didn’t want him. Even if you’re joking, it’s crushing to a child to hear that he was a “mistake” or an “accident.” Likewise, don’t joke about giving him away or sending him off. Kids usually don’t understand the difference between jokes and reality.
9. Figure out your kid’s love language. Every kid needs quality time and affection from their parents, but some need more than others to feel loved. If your kid is a snuggler, snuggle her good!