January 14, 2016 6:26 AM EST

Some spycraft techniques also work for parenting, says Jack Schafer, a psychologist, former FBI special agent and author of The Like Switch: An Ex–FBI Agent’s Guide to Influencing, Attracting, and Winning People Over. Try these:

1 CREATE THE ILLUSION OF CONTROL

FBI agents de-escalate drama by letting subjects call some shots. Offer kids a list of options, all of which you already like.

2 USE THE SCARCITY PRINCIPLE

FBI profiling shows that people like things they can’t get much of. Parents should factor that in when banning an activity or a friend.

3 ASK INDIRECT QUESTIONS

Kids (and perps) hate being interrogated. Instead, try queries like “My friend’s son was drinking. What should his parents do?”

4 HANG IN THERE

The more time you spend with a person, the more influence you have on each other. Yes, even on teenagers.

–Carey Wallace

This appears in the January 25, 2016 issue of TIME.

Contact us at letters@time.com.

Read More From TIME

Related Stories

EDIT POST