Not because that’s on your to do list, but because it often ends up being on parents’ “did” list whether they realize it or not!
#1 Consider their opinions unimportant. Their opinions may not rule (and might be kinda crazy), but they matter because of who they belong too.
#2 Make fun of them (especially in their presence). You may be having fun but that doesn’t mean they are. Making fun of people (and even just laughing at their mistakes or ignorance) can be very hurtful. Is it worth the wound?
#3 Talk about them in their presence as if they were not there. It works for babies (and pets) but at some point it has to stop. They’re not possessions, they’re people. While you’re training them for adulthood, why not treat them kind of like adults (only more gently)?
#4 Tease them. Teasing is rarely mutually enjoyed. That fact that the person being teased is smiling, or even laughing, doesn’t mean he or she is enjoying the teasing. Do you want to make a friend or an enemy?
#5 Stop listening before they finish saying what they have to say. Eek! I know it’s so easy to do that so accidentally with anyone. But it’s also rude. Try not to be rude. Being rude is not okay just because it’s kids we’re being rude too. They’re not a lesser class of human beings.
#6 Assume you know what they are thinking and feeling. You don’t. You were a child/teenager once but you were never them.
#7 Tell them to shut up. Telling people to “shut up” (and there are a number of different ways to do that) is just rude. Rudeness never benefits children. There are much nicer ways to tell people to be quiet, when that’s necessary.
#8 Punish them when they’re not guilty. Give them a fair trial. You expect that, don’t you? If you accidentally punish them when they’re not actually guilty, apologize for your mistake even if it was a completely innocent mistake. The knowledge that people can apologize for things they didn’t do on purpose might come in handy in their futures.
#9 Tell other people everything they do or say, especially personal or embarrassing things. That’s called gossip. It hurts. They’re not pets. Give them some privacy.
#10 Tell them you’re not their friend. If you are not your child’s friend you’re either a stranger or an enemy. Friend is a much better option. If parents and children can’t be friends, we may as well give up on this thing called family. Family relationships without friendship would be miserable. Being your child’s friend doesn’t mean you do whatever pleases your child. True friendship isn’t like that.
So. . . do you have anything to apologize for?