by Helen Jones
Remove focus from the issue (problem).
Listen to the problem but make sure that your questions are about wants and needs. The problem can’t be controlled, continued fixating on it isn’t only senseless, it’s ruins your efforts to influence change and underlines your helplessness.
Look at the things you can change.
E.g. you can’t make your or anyone’s son obey a curfew but you can demonstrate how removing the curfew will increase influence. Since you can’t enforce any rule, you lose credibility by continuing to try and credibility trumps authority every time.
Don’t use plans which are a threat or a bribe.
Plans are a way for parents to change the way they connect with their child. Plans are meant to improve the situation not be used as a bargaining chip to give parents power, but as a way to increase their influence.
Ensure the plan relies on the parent alone.
If the plan is dependent on someone else to do part of the plan, (child, teacher, partner etc.) the parent loses control of the outcome. For this reason, parents can support each other but the plans of each parent should be distinct.
Do no harm.
The plan must bring the parent closer to his child or at least not drive him further apart from his child.
Exaggerating danger isn’t part of a Quality Plan for a parent. Acknowledging when they don’t know is.
Keep plans small and simple.
Once the plan starts taking shape, examine it to see if it can be taken back a step or two.