Most of the things we do, the big things and the little things, benefit from a few tricks and tips.
The drive to work, if it's the same route and routine every day, can be lifted by learning when the level crossing gates are up and timing yourself to breeze through.
Parenting is one of life's big things, and I don't like to call the little devices 'Tips" or "Tricks" when it comes to the most important job in the world, those words are somehow demeaning. Let's call them 'Strategies" or "Techniques".
Here's one I'm having a good deal of success with;
One of our foster children has a mild case of ODD, that's Oppositional Defiance Disorder. In fact it's so mild it might be normal teenage behaviour, but experts have a name for almost everything and who are we foster parents to argue.
We think the lad's low on self-esteem and insecure and that makes him want to big himself up and take control of things, because he's never been treated as important and always felt under the control of people he couldn't trust, poor fella.
Recently he was upstairs in his room and it needed a quick hoover. There'd be plenty of debris needed collecting and binning too. When I got to his door I hesitated, trying to think of the best way of telling him I was coming in. Then a thought struck me from nowhere, namely;
"How would I manage this situation if the person inside the room which we call his bedroom, but isn't really his bedroom because his real bedroom is twenty miles away, how would I mange this situation if the person inside was an adult?"
So I played it like that. I knocked gently on the door and he barked;
"I was wondering when would be convenient for you to let me give your room a quick clean?"
"I said, when would be a good time for you to let me hoover in there?"
"Er," he said "Now's alright."
And I've kept it up ever since. Treating him with the same respect I would treat an equal. The rules are still there, but they're managed with an air of mutual regard.
He's acting more like the man we hope he grows into by being treated as if he already is the man we hope he grows into.
I've got a few more up my sleeve I'll get to another time. If you have any I'd love to hear.
BTW it works equally well the other way round, when I treat my other half like a favourite child he's putty, he'd tell you himself if he only knew...