The Caring Habits

One of the most powerful policies I’ve ever put in place was to see students as whole people at any age. For some, children are incomplete beings, not capable of responding to and not deserving respect. It changes the entire relationship.

There are many behaviors or tactics adults use to get children to do things they want them to do. These tactics often undermine the strength of the relationship and can lead to frustration, struggles, anxiety, and rebellion.

Dr. William Glasser called these tactics the “7 Deadly Habits.”

  • Criticizing
  • Blaming
  • Complaining
  • Nagging
  • Threatening
  • Punishing


  • Bribing or rewarding to control

These tactics often get short-term results and maybe some long-term results but they so often come with baggage. Glasser encouraged the replacement of these deadly habits with “7 Caring Habits.”

  • Supporting
  • Encouraging
  • Listening
  • Accepting
  • Trusting
  • Respecting


  • Negotiating differences

The beautiful thing is that you don’t need anyone’s permission to try these out. I suggest starting with the people who are closest to you. Then, start thinking about your relationships with young people in your life. Whether they’re students, your own children, or children of people you work with, think of how you might provide these kinds of foundations to a meaningful relationship instead of just becoming more of the noise that’s around them.

Philip Mott

I've been working with families for two decades now. I write about topics pertaining to parents of children ages 4-12.

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