1. Develop a sense of humour – it could save your life, or at least lower your blood pressure.
2. Lower your expectations – the child or children almost certainly won’t be like you were at their age – nor like your nieces and nephews born in secure loving homes.
3. Raise your expectations – look for the things you love about being a parent, and about your children and celebrate them.
4. Know when to back off – life is too short to try to get them to do homework, get out of bed weekends and holidays, eat in the kitchen, keep appointments, brush their teeth, tidy up, stop smoking or bingeing….. (some things change as they get older, other things don’t seem to change at all).
5. Try not to feel guilty when you make time for yourself or do something you want to do – learn to say ‘No!’.
6. Recognise that their constant need to control you comes from a deep need to feel loved and connected – but that doesn’t mean you have to go along with it.
7. A good day is when nothing disastrous happens and there are moments of connection – the chances are we (and you) are doing a good job, even if it doesn’t always feel like it.
8. There’s not much help out there, but keep looking and asking. Just holding things together while they grow up is an achievement.
9. Be honest with the children and with yourself – not always easy but it has something to do with learning to trust their instincts as to what they need, even if they mess up at times.
10. Start again each day and strive to BE HAPPY!