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