If you’re a working parent, you’re probably feeling the pressure of work demands as well as of disciplining your kids. It’s hard. You may be feeling exhausted, but you still have to find the energy to lay down rules and ensure that they are met.

Some parents seem to do this well. They are able to set firm boundaries respectfully, without feeling like monsters and without getting in to fights with their kids. What they may have discovered, is a highly-effective method of rule-setting, known as being a “warm demander”.

Warm demanders are, as Lisa Delpit says, people who “expect a great deal of their students, convince them of their own brilliance, and help them to reach their potential in a disciplined and structured environment.”

The staff at the June Jordan School for Equity in San Francisco have developed this useful framework on how to become a warm demander.

  • Believe that your child can do anything: Studies have repeatedly proved that our ability to learn comes from tapping into certain resources and not from IQ. Also, try and remain relevant to them when you’re speaking to them. For example, don’t compare them to kids in other countries or different schools. Find examples who they can relate to and who they see as similar to themselves.
  • Form a mutually trusting relationship with your kids: Share (age appropriate) confidences with your child. You’ll be surprised how that will encourage them to share secrets with you too. And have a system of flexibility within limits. So that as long as they follow your rules, they can also make their own decisions. Decided what they would like to eat from a set of options, for example.
  • Encourage self discipline: This is hard to do. Children need to be made responsible for their own outcomes. Agreeing on certain tasks and a fair time-period in which to complete it is a good system to ensure that they take ownership.
  • See mistakes in a positive light: If your child makes a mistake, talk about it. Ask what happened to make the mistake happen. Discuss if there was a possibility of avoiding the mistake. And also the lesson learned from it. Show them how to handle failure by handling your own mistakes well.

Over time, you’ll begin to see your children blossom, and you would have equipped them with invaluable skills such as sensible decision-making, and self-motivation.