Say Nigel Latta to any parent in New Zealand, and they'll smile. We all love the common-sense approach to parenting this renowned psychologist offers in his books and, even more famously, in his TV appearances. You just have to be intrigued by anything called "The Politically Incorrect Parenting Show". The contents won't disappoint. It lets you off the hook when your parenting style is human instead of textbook. It tells you it's ok to discipline your kids if they don't want to do their homework. It's a parent's best friend.
Here is an excerpt from the book "Politically Incorrect Parenting: Before Your Kids Drive You Crazy, Read This!" about the art of communication (reprinted here with the author's permission):
The effective use of punctuation underlies all good parenting. In fact, I would say that there are some types of punctuation that have no place at all in parent-teenager communication.
Perhaps the worst offender is the humble comma. This simple punctuation device is responsible for more conflict between parents and their teenage children than any other. Whilst it might seem
extreme, my advice would be to declare your home a comma-free zone. The
comma will only bring trouble, and if you are wise you will have none
of it. The rule of thumb is that anything which comes after the comma is
nagging. Anything after a comma is simply going on about things.
The full-stop, on the other hand, is your friend. The full-stop can
prevent many arguments. It can be used liberally with little fear. Question marks are a little like salt, in that a little salt is usually helpful, whereas a lot of salt ruins just about every meal. Salt and question marks should both be used in moderation. In general, you will want to deploy a fill-stop as soon as you can. If you have a choice between a comma and a full-stop, always go for the latter.
Mothers tend to have far more difficulty with this basic (…). Commas come
naturally to mothers that they are often unable to tell when they are
using them. Mothers also take more convincing about the need to limit
the use of question marks. Mothers often thing the best follow-up for
one question mark is another question mark. Fathers are more full-stop
“No, you can’t go to your friends place tonight, and before you
ask me why, let me tell you, because if you were to speak a little more
nicely to me and your father, and show us just a modicum of common
courtesy, then I might have let you go, but you’re the one who decided
to be rude, so you’re the one who can stay home, and if you want someone
to blame for that, then don’t blame me, because I’m not the one who
doesn’t think about anyone else in this family, although you probably
don’t even notice the fact that I do lots of things for you that I never
get any thanks for, like your washing, and cooking all the meals, and
keeping this place clean, and ….”
How to fix that:
“No, you can’t go to your friend’s place tonight.”
Here's that link to the book again: "Politically Incorrect Parenting".
And here's Nigel's website.