Here’s what not to say if you want your child to trust you.
Kids know exactly how far they can push their parents, and are extremely aware when a parent has lost control and begins making impossible ultimatums.
Threatening to ground a child for life is kid-code for “never going to happen” and a sure sign that you can’t always be taken at your word.
Instead, to communicate a firm boundary, use a consequence you can actually enforce – ideally something that matters to your child that can actually be carried out.
For a teen, this might be taking away a smartphone or changing the password for wireless internet access.
Follow through with the consequence so it’s not an empty threat.
Children need to trust that their parent means what they say.