Don’t make empty promises.
Worse still, don’t make empty threats.
Don’t say things that you can’t possibly carry out, are unwilling to follow through, or have absolutely no intention of fulfilling.
Vague cajoling, half-hearted chastising, repeated nagging are all forms of shooing flies — they do nothing to help our children realize their mistakes and learn from them. They are mere noises to tune out until that one, big, long-overdue explosion that come from an already agitated parent. Then all of a sudden, the children decide they’d better obey now.
A man (or a parent) is as good as his words.
If you say, “You can’t have your dessert if you don’t finish dinner,” then don’t proceed to badger and cajole your kids into finishing dinner so you can give them their dessert. Or worse, bend, break, or ignore your own threat and dole out the unmerited treats at the end.
Pick your battle. Then stick to it.