Understand that for most things, they will grow out of it. Don’t spend too much time fighting with them; it will only make them want to do it even more. Kids want to rebel against their parents. The more you argue with them the more they will not want to listen. Be consistent with what you are saying. But overall, pick your battles. Know if it is one that you cannot win or that the price for winning is too great. You don’t want them to think they won an argument. That will jus reinforce them thinking they can win the next one.
Stay involved with their lives. This is easy when they are little, but it will get harder when they get older. Ask questions about what happened at school. Know their friends. When they are young have sleepovers. That is a great way to meet their friends and start to find out which ones are good and which ones you don’t like. But keep in mind that if you tell them that you don’t like a friend it may have the opposite effect then what you wanted. Invite their boyfriend/girlfriend over when they get older so you know them.
Start when they are little. Make sure they understand the difference between right and wrong. Don’t tell them not to do something, and then let them do it anyway. Make sure they know that what you say is the way it is. Too many parents tell kids not to do something, and then let the kids do it anyway because it isn’t worth the fight. Then you shouldn’t have told them no in the first place. All that does is reinforce that mom and dad will change their minds if you keep on asking or if you just do it you won’t get in trouble. Make a decision and stick with it. Don’t be a lazy parent.
Understand that they are kids. They will make mistakes, we all did. Be there to help them and make sure they learn something from the experience. Don’t be too hard on them because of a mistake. Know the difference between a mistake and bad behavior. If it was just a mistake make sure they fix it. Help them if you need to, but make sure they face up to it and make it better.
These are some basic general ideas of how to raise good kids.