I don't think there is a parent alive, certainly not a parent of a teenager, who doesn't at some point want to throw their hands up in the air and go WHY AM I BOTHERING!!!!. If you are a parent then you know the drill – you talk and you talk and you talk and your kid never seems to get it. Sometimes it feels like you are talking to a brick wall and other times it feels worse. I have a teenage boy, 15, myself so I say this with a fairly high degree of authority.

What I wanted to pass on to other parents tho is that you actually are getting thru but it may take years for you to realize it.

Here's an example from my own life. As a young child I was tremendously clumsy. And I'm not not sure that I am any better now but that's a different story. As a clumsy child I had a tendency to knock glasses off the kitchen table which led to shattered glass everywhere. And my mother, bless her heart, always had the same reaction:

  • Everyone freeze!
  • The furthest person away grabs the shoes.
  • Cleanup with paper towels for the wet, then broom and then vacuum.

Earlier this afternoon I was assembling Christmas lights and the strand I was working on fell and WHAM about 10 1 1/2" colored bulbs all exploded. There was glass from one end of the kitchen to the other. And you know what I did? Well:

  • Everyone freeze!
  • The furthest person away grabs the shoes.
  • Cleanup with broom and then vacuum (there was no wet so no paper towels).

I haven't gone thru this with my mom in maybe 35 years now but, today, when I needed it, it was there like a reflex, as automatic as breathing.

And that's what I mean by parenting actually does work. Keep in mind that:

  1. You need to be consistent in what you do.
  2. You have to stay at it.
  3. You won't see the pay off for literally years. You might never see it; I doubt I'll ever tell my Mom about today and she's the last person in the universe to read my blog.

Even if your kids appear not to be listening or even caring, if you stay at it, they'll pick it up even if it is by osmosis that they aren't even aware of.