Your Teenager Not Listening To You? Try Telling Them You’re From The Future

parents-talk-teen-son-300x205I have a 16 year old son.  Like many teenagers, and you may relate to this, he has an innate reflex to reject any life lesson advice I might happen to bestow upon him.

Fortunately, I’ve been blessed with a great kid so Gabriel is often able to overcome this common malady among teenagers and, after a few moments of reflection, grudgingly admit that some of my counsel may be worth considering.

Recently I watched the new X-Men movie as well as the Tom Cruise film Edge of Tomorrow.  Both movies shared a theme common to films with a “time travel element”.  One character has to send the protagonist back in time to alter the time line and have the earlier versions of themselves make “better” choices which will allow for a more rosy future.  The challenge (and occasional comedy element) happens when the earlier version of the character who sent them back in time in the first place doesn’t believe them and doesn’t want to take their advice.

I thought to myself as I watched, “This is what is like to be a parent!”

Our children are like an earlier version of ourselves.  And here we are as parents sitting in the future with a grand picture of our life thus far and the results of choices we made; the good…and the not so good!

Realizing we don’t have a time machine to correct the bad decisions in our own lives we passionately try to influence the decisions of the next closest thing to our younger selves…

our children!

When I look into the face of my 16 year old son Gabriel I can’t help but to see myself.  Me at 16!  And I want to let my early self know where some of the decisions he is contemplating will lead.  But like the time travelers from the aforementioned films I initially am met with cynicism and disbelief.

In their eyes you are just this crazy person babbling nonsense!

In the movies though the hero always tries to convince the earlier self with some piece of knowledge only they would know.  Something to prove they are not some madman.
That’s why its important to be open about your own past decisions, both good and bad, because that will help them see that you’ve encountered the same choices and dilemmas already.  They will see you’re not just some crazy nut!

So next time you are having a heart to heart with your teen and they respond with, “How could you possibly know what I am going through?” 

You can respond with confidence

“Oh, I know more than you think!  You, see…I’m from the future!



  • Connie Mudore

    Funny! I’m gonna try it with my students.

  • Bob

    I’m guessing you’re not a country music fan but find a recording of “Letter to Me” by Brad Paisley. Good fit for your subject matter.
    P.S. Headed to your old stomping ground this Thurs. Will see a game in Detroit that night, then on to Cleveland and Pittsburgh.

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