The results were amazing.
“After a few days of the experiment,” reported one mom, “my daughter confided a 'boyfriend secret' to me. We also watched about an hour of MTV together, just chatting -- no lectures, no serious talks, just 'hanging out.'" Another parent said, “Acts of rudeness disappeared, and he was actually pleasant to be around--no arguing, yelling and fighting. It was heaven again."
“Praise was followed by physical signs that it had a positive effect,” one lucky mom said. “Their spirits lifted and they had more energy. You could see their shoulders straighten, their heads come up, a light in their eyes!” Some kids even started complimenting their parents right back: "My son’s study habits leave little to be desired! Because of the constant arguments in this area, he chooses to wait until the last minute to show me a test grade that requires my signature. I've lectured, etc., to no avail. One day, he said, as nonchalantly as he could, 'Hi, Mom, I got a 75 on a science test I forgot to study for last night.' Trying to remain calm and remembering our positive experiment, I told him I really appreciated him telling me now and not waiting until the last minute. He replied, 'And Mom, I really appreciate you taking this so well; I'm impressed.'"
But the biggest outcome of the experiment is what the parents learned about their own behavior. While it’s not easy to be nice to a surly teen, it’s well worth the effort. As Nancy, a mom from Florida said, “Out of the many arguments and tears he and I seem to go through, I can always find one positive thing to say to him.” Cindy, a mom from New York, concurs, "Praise is an effective tool in the arsenal of parenting.”