On occasion, you may have to discipline a child in public. This is almost unavoidable. Your long-term relationship with your well-behaved child is much more important than suffering the two-second sarcastic sneers of a few strangers who want to side with your child and make you feel like an abuser. Many more people will silently applaud and understand your firm verbal reaction to a child’s inappropriate behavior. The world and your child will thank you later.
Teenagers may talk back to you once in awhile. Within reasonable limits, this is part of growing up and showing independence. Compromising between your fashion and entertainment sense and theirs is reasonable. Tardiness, foul language and a disregard for one’s own possessions are not signs of adolescence or of any other age category. They are signs of the lazy and undisciplined. Well before the age of thirteen, clean clothes properly stored in a clean room and answering when called should be unspoken expectations.
Pick your battles. Save your strength. One tattoo is not a sleeve of ink. One piercing does not make a Goth. One joint is not drug addiction. One inappropriate video game does not require residential rehab. Shake your head, disapprove, speak your mind but give a little to save a lot.
No well-behaved child at any age should be allowed to talk back or shout at a parent or other elder. If a child asks to do something and you say no ten times and then yes the eleventh time, you will pay for the rest of your own life. Your word will mean little. Your future influence will be minimal. Your child will be in for a rude awakening and a very unpleasant life in the real world. You are condemning this child to a miserable life. He will be forever unsatisfied and probably unpopular.