I hear parents complaining all the time that their teen-aged children don’t listen to them. Having raised two teens very recently, I know exactly what they mean. Teens seem locked into their peer group, accessed almost entirely via texting and Facebook. They appear to glaze over when we give them our spoken opinion on anything at all.
But the truth is this: our children have heard every word we have said. They have heard the inconsistencies and the disagreements, as well as the praise and humor. That they don’t relay to us, in the moment, how these words have impacted them does not mean that one day they will not tell us, in some detail.
While the peer group can steer a teen and a charismatic teacher or coach can inspire him, parents are always the most lasting and significant influence. Positive role modeling of exercise, reading, and concern for the community do resonate, as do unhealthy drinking habits, procrastination, and anger. If we want our children to change, we can change first. If we want our children to have picked up some of our positive values, we should just be patient. They will.
Sarah C. Reese, Executive Director
Informed Educational Solutions
- Peer Power (myiesolutions.wordpress.com)