It may be helpful to point out what not to do as well as what to do, partly because they contrast, and also because you will get a feel for the intention behind my suggestions. I will give you a list of things to avoid as well as a list of useful things to do. This is not exhaustive, and you will find more of your own. These are examples of the ways that parents treat their children, and if changes are made they are thus preventable. There are many life experiences that mould us that we cannot avoid.
We may fondly imagine that none of these apply to us, and I doubt whether all of them apply to anyone, but they can be subtle. I have used bald terms to describe them. Families dress up their bullying tactics “Granny wouldn’t like you wearing that short skirt and you wouldn’t want to disappoint Granny, would you?”. This isn’t about granny’s preference at all. If you don’t have children and never plan to, you are still included, your treatment of yourself and your partner will be dictated by your family patterns as you grew up until you take charge of it.
Some Things to Avoid
Bribing, Threatening, Making them ‘agree’ with us, Breaking promises, Being hypocritical, Lying, Making a point, Making remarks, Unfair comparison, Letting them down, Asking them to do things we are not prepared to do ourselves, Tantalising, Teasing, Poking fun, Belittling their plans, Preventing disappointment, Forcing them into things, Controlling them, Trying to make them jealous, Crowing over them, Competing with them, Keeping them in the dark (perhaps literally as well as metaphorically), Teaching them a lesson
Some Helpful Things We Can Do:
Listen, Foster their independence, Value their ideas and advice, Observe their need for freedom, acceptance, lack of criticism, Give them freedom to choose, Show them and answer them, Be a sounding board, Be genuinely interested, Massage them and ask them to massage us, Provide raw materials, Respect their privacy, possessions and their creativity, Let them see who we are, tell them what we like about them, Explain what is happening
These are expanded at length in the book.