Thursday, March 7, 2013

Tactics and teenagers

This episode is bought to you by the letter T and the number 6

Ever wondered how some parents seem to be able to get there kids to do things and others just seem to be constantly yelling at their kids ( and each other) ?

Picture this - two meth addict parents with a 3 year old in a stroller are at a major intersection waiting to cross. There are probably 15 other people waiting to cross this road as well. The lights change but the pedestrian lights do not and everybody is forced to wait another set of lights change until the green man is presented and they can all cross.

The mother proceeds to yell at the father all the way across the lights about how "All these fu#@%ers didn't bother to fu@$#en push the fu*%^ button to cross the fu*+!@ lights".
"They were fu%$#en standing there the whole fu&#$%en time and not one of them fu*&^%en tried.

The father is trailing behind her and  is profusely apologising the whole time. They disappear down the road with her still swearing that this is the problem with the world today.

I tell you this story because I didn't stop laughing  for about a day and in fact I still laugh about it. The child in the stroller , with her head rotating furiously from side to side in an effort to see her parents arguing behind her was learning.

She was learning tactics for getting by in the world. Now, you and I both know they are entirely wrong but that's what I'm getting at.

I have found that if you just yell at or nag or berate your child to do something then you are probably either not going to get it done or just end up with a resentful situation.

image courtesy of

Tactics are becoming increasingly important in our lives as well , with a teenager (added hormones included ) and a potential teenager lurking behind him - just watching the interactions.

No longer do mindless incentives work

Pleading does not work

Berating does not work

If / then statements do not always work

However parental unity is still working ( I think this is a fundamental underpin of the universe , so I'm confident it won't change any time soon). As long as we both stay firm with the decisions the desired result is achieved.

I'm finding we have to get to the solution and  make him feel good about himself that the choice is right and he was involved in the trip to get there.

It's delicate as the pressure from being in Year 7 has quadrupled from Year 6 and it's a jungle out there. New kids in the class along with all the other kids jockeying for position. Getting around a larger school area and all of a sudden timing is important as well as having all the right books and equipment.

So no matter how much you prep your child for senior school sometimes the shock of the vastness of the whole thing can be just overwhelming

But we won't tiptoe around it , he has to learn that sometimes no matter what - you have to push on as I don't want him to be afraid of a challenge and I don't want him to grow up risk averse. i.e. if it's too hard or someone tells you its too difficult they give up with out even attempting.

It's the same way we let him let him do what some parents would class as dangerous now days like catching public transport by himself.

Just as you're tired from school / sport it is the same as if you're at work and tired, there are deadlines and expectations.

This of course can be dangerous - its kinda like balancing a hand-grenade on a knife- you know its going to go off you just don't know which direction and when. Especially if you're tired or not 100% focussed on what you doing with them at the time.

And as tempting as it is to tell them how everything will end up or what will happen when the do something you know that  you can tell them until they're blue in the face but until they learn themselves.

On the flip side we have learned that you can, with some degree of success, put 2 minute noodles in a bagel and eat it.

So where do the letter T and the number 6 come in ?

T is for tactics, get them right and you on a winner.

The number 6 is the current number of times you have to ask to get him to brush his teeth and put deodorant on.