There's a series of conversations that a parent must have with their child. It begins with simple ones, such as the "don't stick anything in that outlet", "don't play in the street" and "don't swing that toy or you could hit someone". These are the short and to-the-point talks.
As your child gets older, the conversations get longer and more important. When your child starts school, there's the talk about treating others as you want to be treated. That's a good one, chocked full of cliques. When that child is old enough to play outside and the boundaries in the neighborhood stretch, the stranger danger talk comes into play.
Sometimes it seems as if raising children is just a book of conversations and talks and speeches. But these are so important. This is how we, as parents, instill good morals and ethics into our children.
The responses from the children change over the years, too. When they're young, they simply don't do what you don't want them to do. Yes, they'll test you and try occasionally to do it again, but that's a stage they'll outgrow and hopefully, if you're a lucky parent, will not revisit. As they get older, you'll experience the "yes, mom, I know" response. You'll get the roll of the eyes. Sometimes, it's the "I'm not listening" response. This one is a tough one. More than likely, they are really listening. They are, once again, testing those boundaries.
You can only hope that over the years these words penetrate to the very depths of their beings. You want your voice to merge with that voice in their head that tells them what to do when all their buddies are planning to pull that prank or leave the place their supposed to be. This is the overall goal, the ultimate result.
The difficult part is trusting that this is the result. As you sit there on your couch while your child is at the skating rink with friends on a Friday night, you have to believe that the conversation you had in the car about not leaving the rink, being respectful to others, call if there's a problem, etc., sunk in. Thinking about it, you're heart races and your mind wanders to all the what-ifs. You find yourself holding your breath until your child is safely in his bed. These are the parental milestones that create grey hair.
For all you parents that have toddlers, be prepared. You have a lot of conversations ahead of you. For those that have school-age children, preteens, and teenagers, remember, you're not alone. Just keep in mind, you learned these conversations from someone else...your parent.
So, evidently, the process works.