Introduction Rules for staying sane 1 Relax2 No one is perfect 3 Be content 4 Know what you're good at 5 Almost any rule can be broken occasionally 6 Don't try to do everything 7 You don't have to follow every piece of advice you get (including this one) 8 It's normal to want to escape 9 You're allowed to hide from your kids 10 Parents are people too 11 Don't ignore your relationship with your partner Attitude Rules 12 Love is not enough 13 Every recipe needs different ingredients 14 Anything extreme is almost certainly wrong 15 Look pleased to see them16 Treat your child with respect 17 Enjoy their company 18 It's not about you - it's about them 19 Being tidy isn't as important as you think 20 Good parenting is calculated risk taking 21 Keep your worries to yourself 22 See things from their point of view 23 Parenting is not a competitive sport 24 Never emotionally blackmail them Everyday Rules 25 Let them get on with it 26 Let them go (wild) 27 Teach them to think for themselves 28 Use praise wisely 29 Make sure they know what's important 30 Show them how to lose 31 Know the value of boundaries 32 Bribery doesn't have to be bad 33 Moods are catching 34 You're setting their eating patterns for life 35 Communicate 36 Set clear targets 37 Don't be a nag Discipline Rules 38 Present a united front 39 Carrots beat sticks 40 Be consistent 41 Lighten up 42 Focus on the problem, not the person 43 Don't paint yourself into a corner 44 If you lose your temper, you're the loser 45 Apologise if you get it wrong 46 Let them back in 47 The right of expression Personality Rules 48 Find what incentives work for your child 49 Every child should have something they know they're good at 50 Learn to appreciate the qualities that remind you of someone else 51 Look for the similarities between you 52 Find qualities to admire in them 53 Let them be better than you 54 Their attitude is as important as their achievements 55 Keep your fears and insecurities to yourself 56 Mind your programming 57 Don't try to have a perfect child Sibling Rules 58 Give them each other 59 Recognize that squabbling is healthy (within reason) 60 Teach them to sort out their own arguments 61 Work as a team 62 Let them entertain each other 63 Never compare children with each other 64 Different children need different rules 65 Don't have a favourite 66 Mix and match 67 Find each child's strengths School Rules 68 Schooling isn't the same as education 69 School comes as a package 70 Fight your child's corner 71 Bullying is always serious 72 Teach them to stand up for themselves 73 Put up with friends of theirs you don't like 74 Remember you're their parent, not their teacher 75 Don't mollycoddle them 76 Let up the pressure 77 They have to live with their choices (and it's OK) Teenage Rules 78 Don't panic 79 Remember Newton's Third Law 80 Give them a voice 81 Don't look under the mattress 82 Running round after them doesn't help anybody 83 Don't stand in front of a speeding train 84 Yelling isn't the answer 85 Let them have the last word 86 Everything comes with strings 87 Show some respect for the things they care about 88 Adopt a healthy attitude to sex Crisis Rules 89 Don't use your kids as ammunition 90 Let them cope in their own way 91 Being younger doesn't necessarily speed everything up 92 The aftershock can last forever 93 Tell them what's going on 94 Teach them to fail successfully 95 It's better to agree than to be right 96 All of your actions speak louder than any of your words 97 Make sure they know they're priority no. 1 98 You can't fix everything Grown-up Rules 99 Back off 100 Wait until they ask for advice101 Treat them as adults 102 Don't try to be their best friend103 Encourage them regardless 104 You can't choose who your children love 105 Leave the strings off 106 Don't guilt-trip them 107 Remember they still need you 108 It's not your fault 109 Once a parent, always a parent Rules about your parents 1 Don't put them on a pedestal 2 Let them be grandparents 3 Don't ask too much of them 4 Don't guilt-trip them - even by mistake5 Learn to share 6 They're new to this too7 Understand that they don't come from the same place as you 8 Any grandparent is better than no grandparent 9 Don't bad-mouth them in front of the kids10 They love you just like you love your kids Had enough yet . . .?