There’s a popular parenting paradigm called Love and Logic. The school district we live in has offered several seminars with the author and those trained in the method. Of all the parenting approaches I’ve heard about, this one seems to make the most sense. Natural consequences, setting clear expectations, consistency, etc. But I think it’s missing a key that the husband and I use. Laughter.
There’s a medication on the market currently that is used to treat the post-stroke phenomenon of inappropriate affect. What does that mean? Well, as Danny Glover explains, it means displaying an emotion/reaction that isn’t necessarily appropriate for the situation. Outbursts of crying or laughing. The first time I saw the commercial I was afraid someone was going to tell me I needed it. You see, right or wrong, I tend to try to find a reason to laugh. My friends, I’m sure, are sick of hearing me say it but my motto is, “You can laugh or you can cry. I’ll laugh if at all possible.” It helps that I have a well-honed, slightly sick sense of humor. Spending several years in the mental health field tends to do that. Either that, or those of us with that type of personality gravitate towards the field. Hmmm, that sounds like a whole other post…
Anyway, given my propensity to find the humor in all situations, it should come as no surprise that I have approached parenting in much the same way. With an irreverent, often inappropriate sense of humor. No topic is off limits in our household. In fact, the more difficult the topic, the more we have tried to normalize discussion of it. Believing that it is our job to equip our kids for life in the real world, we have held little back. Sex? Yep. Drugs? Check. We have done our best to answer questions openly, and honestly. Sometimes a little more honestly than we feel comfortable with, but the thing about kids is, they know when you’re not honest with them. And every time you fib, they trust you a little less. Do I mean that we’ve told the whole unadulterated truth to a five year old? No. But I did have to have a very uncomfortable & frank conversation with my 12 year old about sex. You see, we wanted to be the main source of our kids’ education, in that area especially. Sometimes that meant getting ahead of the curve. As uncomfortable as it was for everyone involved. Especially the kid.
Unfortunately, my internal filter doesn’t always work so well. Especially when faced with a difficult task like discussing oral sex with a 6th grader. (Necessitated by a situation in our neighborhood.) As such, from time to time I have expressed my thoughts in a completely irreverent manner. The first time I did it I was horrified with myself. I even apologized for it. Alas, that didn’t keep me from doing it again. And again. And again. My inappropriate declarations became so regular that one of my kids created a power point with all of my catch phrases. As I paged through it, I was slightly horrified, but also entertained. And when my kids went through it with me, they appeared to feel the same way. The advice was funny, but honest and true. And because of the way it was presented, it seemed to stick a little better than any serious lecture on the topic could.
Just as I’m slowly introducing you to My Tribe, I’m going to run through the Power Point in several posts. Hopefully you’ll be more entertained than horrified. As I share them, I ask for your grace as I’m pretty much just spit-balling my way through this parenting thing.