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This is what my husband and I say to each other with a knowing smile when we spot our kids dancing around the house playfully, or humming a tune while drying dishes, or even belting out screechy fake singing in an effort to annoy. Spirits are high when kids are happy, and they sometimes show it in their actions despite whatever words they claim. It happens when kids feel good about their lives. We see it often after a struggle we have faced as parents is over. It is the validation that what we settled on as an answer is good. Kids like what is going on even when they say differently.

Our teenagers challenge us constantly through their words, saying ‘no’ to things they will benefit from, flailing in the process of a difficult decision, and arguing for the sake of arguing, testing us as two-year old children do.

But when we hear a song in the air after the struggle is over we know our iron fists have wrought good.