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4.16.2012

In peace talks, where the players sit can be as important as what is said

A few days ago, while discussing how to reach a teenager, a friend told me that she had learned that talking to her daughter was a head on affair while talking with her son was more of a side to side thing, like watching TV together. In fact, she said, they got their best work done during prime time TV ad breaks. Well, Tio is definitely a teenager now. He's grown 4 inches in the past 8 months, his voice has dropped an good octave, and he has so much extra attitude he doesn't mind handing it out for free.

Yesterday, we had a couple of things to talk about so I pulled a chair up in front of him on the porch for subject number one: dating at his age. I was facing him and I could see by his reactions what I had to say wasn't to his liking. Moreover, he got more uncomfortable the more I noticed it . He didn't have a lot to say, but his face said a lot. So when I changed the subject to his schoolwork, I switched chairs and sat beside him where we were both looking over the railing to the hills beyond.

He didn't approve of the subject matter any more than the first one: his grades had gone down and the expectations were going up. But this time I didn't look him in the eye, didn't watch his face and made no responses to his silences. I told him how things stood and left it at that. After a few minutes of enjoying the view, he chimed in with his objections, ideas, and offers. When he'd had enough, he got up and left. 

I don't know if either of the two 'talks' sunk in more than the other. Neither were his choosing, but I did sense that he was less uncomfortable (strange double negative there) when we faced the open breeze together. Maybe it's less of a "lecture", less intimidating, and more like just putting the stuff out there.

I'm much more of a f2f kinda guy and this'll take some getting used to but as there are two more boys coming down the pike, there's no sense bucking what works.