There comes a point, I believe, that the voice of the parents stop being the voice of authority and more like white noise to be ignored. If you have ever spent time around a cat or a teenager you know what I am talking about. You are just a big, dumb human making noises. It can be especially difficult when trying to communicate a message that isn’t timely. If you yell to a teenager that they are about to be hit by a train, they will leap out of the way. But if you tell a teenager to stay off the tracks because a train might come you will get a soft “what-evs” and then they will walk along the rails listening to their iPods until they get run over.
So parenting can be a challenge but that does not mean it can’t be effective and sometimes amusing. For a while I was having a problem getting my child to clean up after making a bagel for breakfast or a sandwich for lunch. I would get a soft eye roll when I would tell her that we have cutting boards for a reason and that using a paper towel for a single use layer was wasteful. These solid pearls of dad wisdom were falling on deaf ears.
Fortunately, she is old enough that instead of getting frustrated that she isn’t listening I instead think, “How can I use this situation to amuse myself?” And amuse myself I did. Here are the messages she found for going off to school without cleaning up.
To her credit, she is a good kid and has been making her own lunch since she was about 4-years-old. But she does know what kind of dad I am and to her shame she let this go on far too long before learning. She knows that I use annoyance as a tool for behavior modification so she really should know better. However, it turned out to be an effective communication tool since this behavior has ceased months ago and it only made her think I am a marginally bigger dork than before so it was worth it.