So I'm listening to NPR today...a weekly (?) mental health talk show where they're talking to parents about communicating with teens.
The first example was a mother who was getting after her daughter for sitting on the couch to spray her hairspray. The mother was afraid the hairspray would ruin the couch and the daughter was feeling picked on and persecuted. I don't know. I can't see me personally getting upset about hairspray. Papier mache on the couch, small engine repair on the couch, rolling out cookie dough on the couch, I can see. But hairspray? As long as you can't see it, what's the problem?
The second example however, was the best. The psychologists and adolescent experts talked about the changes a child's brain goes through in the teenaged years, and conceded that they simply do NOT think. They are incredibly impulsive and in many instances it is impossible to deal with them logically and rationally. The experts stress that it is very important to stay calm, and perhaps put some distance between the offense and the imminent parent-child discussion and discipline session. The example given was an overnight slumber party, that, on a whim and a dare, bubbled out into the yard with shaving cans and eggs good only for trussing up the exterior of the home of the cutest boy in school. The police come, chastise the girls and send them back to their party. The party girl's parents then deliver each girl home to be dealt with by their own parental units.
The experts encouraged the parents to STAY calm. Deal with the situation in the morning when cooler heads will prevail, and the child--having come to her senses--will be shamed into enough contriteness and regret to perhaps write apology letters to the parents of the party girl, the parents of the cute boy, and perhaps the police--letters which would include an admission of guilt and regret for their rash behavior along with a statement of what each girl would choose to do if the situation arose again.
If the situation arose again? Are you kidding me? I would not have missed a MINUTE of that action--running through the night town in just my skivvies, hysterically spraying shaving cream on the house, the car, the other girls, giddily lobbing eggs at the mailbox, at the dog, at the upstairs window where the boy slept, and then tossing the empty cans and egg cartons over the fence into the pool before dashing away into the darkness. I would not have missed that fun--that glorious, irresponsible fun--for anything. Yeah, I'd write my letter, submit to grounding for a week, but those memories will soon pass and the memory of that warm summer evening of giggly girl-ness will live on forever.