Flash back to the 20th century. Some of you reading this may remember it fondly, others were probably children during that time. And what a time is was to be children! You didn't speak unless spoken to; every stick was universally compatible with every hoop (none of this 9-pin, micro-, nano-USB nonsense); and eight fingers were more than enough to get you through your next pay check from the factory. Children back then were strong, independent; they built the world we now live in/ruin, unlike the children of today.
"The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect to elders and love chatter in place of exercise." -Someone who knew a lot (like, a lot a lot).
As parents today (or parents tomorrow, depending on who you are), it's time you regained the reigns of upbringing and take control of these unruly children once more. Children have had it too good for too long and it's high(chair) time we sit them back at the kids' table.
Children are living, squirming, farting balls of emotion. The first thing a child gives to the world is a spot-on impression of a mewling banshee, straight out of the womb. As a child grows, it learns how to emotionally manipulate you specifically: everything about a baby, including its anatomy, is meant to make you want it.
And the tantrums continue well into adolescence (and even into adulthood if you let it get that far).Children are well versed in emotional warfare; the last thing you want to do is get on their level. When your sexy-time byproduct starts to lubricate its eyes and pout out the bottom of its face, you may be tempted to concede. Don't.
But, you may be thinking: "I was a child once, I know what it's like to grow up in this topsy-turvy world. Maybe if I can relate to them--" No! Stop right there. You do not know what it was like to grow up in this topsy-turvy world because you grew up in a different topsy-turvy world. In fact, your children are growing up in a world where "topsy-turvy" is an archaic expression relegated to the tomes of "þe Olde Wikipædius" (back when it was a book, instead of a website). People just say "upside down emoji" now; welcome to the future.
The point is: if you try to empathize with a child, it will pull out its secret weapon: "You just don't understand". And it's right, you don't. As soon, as you try to relate to a child on an emotional level, you're entering its domain, one that you may have grown weary of (read:out of), but one they have been ruling their entire lives. Your experience of the greater treacheries of life, such as mortgages, have given you a new perspective on the arena in which your child now flails futility. You have transcended, your toasted bun has not. If you reach in from on high, with your hindsight and well-meaning intention, you'll only cause your child to flail more. Instead, stoic silence is your friend.
When the child is talking to you, don't respond. Even if it trails off, like it's your turn to speak, say nothing. If it's expecting a response and you don't give it one, it'll try to fill the silence by speaking more. This will give you the power in the conversation. You can maintain that power by making moderate eye contact and slightly nodding at random intervals. But here's where it gets difficult.
A lot of things that you may disagree with will come out of the child's mouth. There will be things that make you angry. You can't show any emotion at this point. That thing is going to be wrong about stuff you already know about. It's going to think its opinions matter. But don't, under any circumstances, correct the child. As soon as you do, it will drag you down to its level and tear you apart. Instead, maintain your domination with silence and watch as it slowly drains all its haemorrhaged emotion. Once its done, all you need to do is say one word before walking away: sorry.
And that's it! You've successfully won a conversation with your turbulent uterus-sculpture.