Dispassionate cop

So, I’m referring back to that book, Yes, your teen is crazy.  The thing I read there that has stuck with me the most is his admonishment to be dispassionate.

He gives the story of two police officers. 

If you get pulled over by a cop for speeding and the cop is all in your face and aggressive and berating you, you end up mad at the cop and taking no responsibility for speeding. 

If you get pulled over by a cop for speeding and the cop talks about how she understands that you’re in a hurry and she apologizes for having to give you a ticket and she manages your embarrassment and any pique you may be feeling toward her, then you end up feeling bad about the speeding (and mostly the fine) and forget about the cop.

There’s less and less room for arguing in my life.  More and more opportunity to be dispassionate.  Maybe I was already working on this before I read the book.  But, the book really gave it a “face” and a name and I can call it what it is and try to do more and more of it. 

And, it’s HARD!  So, very hard.  

But, all I had to say this morning was that she had 7 days to bring her grades up to expectation or we will take action.  I avoided all the nonsense attitude that so made me want to go off last night.  No arguing, no passion, no asking her why her grades have slipped, because she does not know.  She’s just a teenager, filled with hormones and a brain that can’t focus on anything more complex than the shape of a boy’s nose for more than 37 consecutive seconds.  And, she doesn’t know why.  She just knows what has happened, and now, she knows what she has to do about it. 

Oh, but it would have been easy to argue.  To ask why.  To take some measure of responsibility for 1) her mistake, and 2) getting her out of it.  But, I did not.  I just reminded her of the consequence, gave her a deadline, and suggested that she spend a bit more time studying before tests. 

And, then, our morning went on.  I even asked her to make time to empty the dishwasher while she was watching TV before leaving for the bus.  And, she did it. 

So, I am feeling like super dad.  Today. 

Next time, it’s Rob’s turn.

Be well and have a great Tuesday.  Lane


PattiLynn said...

Sounds like such good advice. I know, for me, I find it hard to lower the temperature once I'm riled up. It is def better to not even go there. at. all.

lw said...

It's really hard not to react when kids push our buttons-- and no one knows better than your kid how to do that. Congratulations on holding firm and not reacting-- from someone who knows just how hard that can be.

Nancy said...

Lane, it sounds like you have handled this perfectly. It is SO hard not to argue with our kids. I am very proud of you for standing firm and keeping emotion out of the equation. Wish I had been that level-headed many times. You are a good parent. Don't doubt that.

Samantha said...

The shape of a boy's nose thing really got me laughing. I wish I could have been so level headed when dealing with my kids during those hormone filled years, especially the oldest one!

Unknown said...

Hang on to that "Super Dad" feeling! I won't last long, after all she is a teenager!

You are doing a great job!

Megan said...

Well done That Dad!

Sydney, Australia

Anonymous said...

Loved--and laughed at--your comment about not being able to focus on anything other than the shape of a boy's nose for more than 37 seconds. So true! And so bewildering to teens themselves. Good for you for sticking to "just the facts ma'am, just the facts". Good cop--and great dad. Elle