All great parents have an instinct to capitalize on all “parenting moments.” These are the moments you feel the need to teach, lecture, nag, punish, or reward your child for their mistakes and successes. At times, the lessons and guidance are truly dire, like making sure they never again put themselves in a life-threatening situation. At other times, your lessons are somewhat frivolous like trying to insist that they change their style.
Unfortunately, parents get in the habit of reacting to every parenting moment that they often fail to see that many of their lectures, arguments, and scolding are more damaging to the relationship than helpful to the child’s life. In time, your teen can become completely numb and often rebellious towards anything you have to teach. Your influential moments with them become non-existent and your moments of damaging the relationship become constant.
Before you find yourself in this twisted predicament ask yourself before every confrontation: “How important is this on a scale of 1-10 in the grand scheme of my relationship with my child and their success in life?” Next ask yourself: “Is my confrontation going to make a positive difference or create more chaos?” I know this feels like you are giving up, but in practicing this you will find that you have plenty of moments to parent and those moments become far more effective. It is better to have one effective parenting interaction a month than it is to have 1,000 ineffective parenting moments a day.