Those of you who have teens or who were teens might appreciate this: My 14yo gave me the nicest compliment today. She meant it as an insult. She was angry because I sent her to her room for back talk and then I added time because she slammed the door. Then she slammed it again and I told her she was in for the night.
"You are SO predictable," she yelled.
I was mulling over what she'd said and it dawned on me that's exactly what I am supposed to be! She's telling me I'm doing my job right.
What I have learned as a parent, however, is that even when I do it right, it doesn't always "work." At least not right away. She's still talking back. She's still slamming the door. They still don't put their back packs away even though I confiscate them and require a job to get them back.
That lack of effectiveness surprised me the most. Before I had kids, I was such an expert on raising them. Be consistent. Be firm. Be gentle. In reality, it's so much harder than any of the books let on.
To end on a positive note, the door slammer did later apologize and even helped with her little sisters.