Thursday, December 07, 2006

"You going to let him get away with talking to you like that?"

I read that in someone's blog a while back. Can't remember whose, but it probably could have been any number of us. As I recall the parent who was reporting being asked that did not even remember the terrible thing the youth was supposed to have said. The parent had just ignored it.

Now I'm not saying here that you should let kids speak to you any way the please. It is appropriate to make them speak to your respectfully. There are different ways to do that. Sometimes we use the word "consequences" as synonymous for "punishment." To enforce a consequences means to give time out or, in this case, make them say they are sorry and rephrase. But there are other consequences, and being deaf to (some?) objectionable language is a viable option. Not all the time mind you, but a good deal of the time.

Especially when they are using it to change the subject.

Ever have a conversation with a kid that went something like this:

Parent: No, you may not go to the party.
Youth: You're a b*tch!
Parent: No. I'm your parent, and it is my job to put limits on
your actions.
Youth: You are #$%*@!
Parent: That is unacceptable language! Apologize to me!

Umm...what happened to the kid going to the party?

I was disappointed with the Crisis Management class that I took, although I recall that it did help me to remember some basics about the sort of parenting style I strive follow. As the class fades in my mind I now remember it as having taught me one thing: I don't need to defend my authority.

I knew that, but I think prior to that class I had never thought about it so clearly. I did the right thing by mistake a couple of days ago, but only because I was too exhausted to handle it poorly. It is difficult not to come to my own defense, and even more difficult not to come to the defense of others, but it is a pretty good parenting stategy.
Parent: No, you can't go to the party.
Youth: You're a b*tch.
Parent: hmmm
Youth: Did you hear me? I said you are a b*tch!
Parent: I heard. You still can't go to the party.

FosterAbba's "Too Bad" response is similar of course. One way or another we simply refuse to engage them when they are behaving inappropriately.

I don't really know why this is on my mind today. Maybe it is just because I am tired (again) and it is good to remember that sometimes good a parenting means remembering that you stay quiet and relax. I can do that.


  1. I'm filing all these little tidbits away for future use. Hopefully, for near future use.

  2. I can do that too. Just not as consistently as I'd like.


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