People of the Internet! I just read a parenting book that not only didn't make my eyes bleed, I also actually liked it. Will wonders never cease.
The book is 1-2-3 Magic and it's not made of sparkly rocket science unicorns or anything. It is, however, a good reminder of how not to let your kids push your buttons. It's written by a very sensible child psychologist, who thinks that parents have a responsibility to be loving, but also to be firm and to set good boundaries. The basic premise is: three chances to correct their behavior, then a consequence. No negotiation, no explaining, no one last chance. Different consequences for different ages; if a teenager won't take a timeout, they can choose between a fine, a chore, or loss of a privilege. If the 3-year-old won't take a timeout, you put them in their room. Consistently ignore annoying behavior. Don't explain and reason and argue with small children; they're doing whatever to get a rise out of you, and when you lose your temper, that's a kind of positive reinforcement.
Yes, I knew all of this, but sometimes it's good to be reminded. Go read it and see.
The only thing I completely disagree with is that the author says "Don't make the child apologize, because they'll just be lying." This is true, but apologies are most often a social construct having nothing to do with how one feels. I am teaching him that when he hurts someone, he has to say sorry, whether he feels remorse or not. It reminds me of what my mother always said about our teachers in school: "You don't have to have respect for them, but you do have to show respect for them."