We (my household) have honestly, cross my heart found, that the fewer the demands (ie, respectful living, few rules, free rein to roam in the early days), the higher the level of cooperation we can expect in the future.
Dominik was at a point where we could not leave the house as a family at all. My mother would not take them anywhere nor would she babysit at night for me. He ran away at times too.
Things were almost unbearable....so I let go. I paused for breath, I stopped trying to control his behaviour and I let him be himself. I ignored the bad behaviour. I learnt about his hobbies and interests and tried my best to share in them with him.
It was an intensive, one-to-one trust building exercise.
Yes, he does choose many activities I don't like! But guess what, I have hobbies he doesn't like too!
The more he trusts me not to judge and control, the more he wants to trust me and listen to my thoughts and opinions.
He is no longer instantly offended by my disagreeing with him nor by my saying no.
He is beginning to understand that not everyone is out to get him.
He said to me a few days ago, "Mum, don't make me think about things because when I do they frighten me". He meant it.
Imagine living in a world where as soon as you thought about an action (and presumably its potential consequences) you became frozen? So terrified that you either engaged; fight, flight or freeze.
That's what is happening to our children.
We need to build their trust and their own self-esteem.