In John 10:10 Jesus promises His followers abundant life. This blog is about my life as His follower.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Take a deep breath...

Some people write deep analysis of ways to parent effectively. But me, one of the best parenting skills I've got, is to just take a deep breath.

It's great.

I've utilized this technique since my 3 sons were young. When they were in early elementary school and would get rambunctious and break a window or something in the house - I'd take a deep breath. Or when they'd get to punching one another and making a lot of loud noise - I'd take a deep breath. Those deep breaths helped me maintain control in the face of my own intense responses to their childish misbehavior.

Tonight I had an experience with my 17 year old son that shows me that this technique still works.

As we were all getting to the dinner table to sit down and share the meal, my 17 year old announces that he needs to make spending money (about a week ago he and I had a thoughtful money discussion which resulted in me increasing the amount of his allowance but letting him know that I would not give him any additional monies unless he completed special projects around the house to earn the money). He said he's come up with a plan that will bring in a phenomenal rate of return on investment, but that he will need some assistance from me. He asked if I would take $30 he'd give me and obtain Oxycodone so he could take them to school and easily sell them for more than four times the amount for which they were purchased. I retorted that this was called "pushing drugs" and that of course I would not do that; that Oxycodone is an opiate like morphine or heroine. He said that what with getting good grades and working toward a football scholarship, he doesn't have time for a part time job. Did I want him to just get a job and forget about good grades and sports?

I almost started to argue the point, but I realized that he was working to reel me in once again. This son has always been the biggest button pusher on the planet, and adores nothing more than getting me upset. So what did I do? I took a deep breath and continued to do so to refrain from speaking.

When he gave a repeat performance for my husband John as he was sitting down at the table, John just laughed at the absurdity. After dinner I had my 17 year old come over to the computer with me so we could google Oxycodone. He was amazed at what he learned. He'd thought I had been exaggerating when I'd told him it was an opiate, but when he saw the same information on Wikipedia, he believed. When we repeatedly read from several sources that respiratory problems as severe as death could be caused by an overdose of Oxycodone, he said that he didn't realize it had such serious side effects. The fact that Oxycodone produces "emotional blunting" gave rise to a great discussion about why a person would want to prevent themselves from experiencing emotions.

So what could have resulted in me once again rising to the bait of my teenager trying to get me agitated for his amusement, was prevented by the simple act of taking a deep breath.

What's a super simple parenting technique that you've found useful?


Denise said...

You sound like a good parent.

GCT said...

Kudos for turning it into a teaching moment.

Deborah Ann said...

My son had the same idea. I had leftover pain pills and he wanted to sell them. Of course I said no to that. No argument though, he's pretty easy going, I don't think we've ever argued.

My oldest son is the one that pushes my buttons. My approach is similar to yours - I keep my mouth shut. I don't like his life choices, but all I can do is pray and trust in God to make those changes.

May said...

Great message for any parent. This approach is less stressful fo both the child and parent. If parents do not learn to take a deep breath they can end in endless arguments with their children.

Tracy said...

Deborah, I think one of the difficult things about being a parent of an adult child is that he/she is now living his/her own life and may not make the choices we know would be best. I think you're very wise indeed to remain silent (I'll bet anything he knows your values and knows what you think/believe anyway) and keep the relationship.

May, unfortunately with this specific son, too often I've forgotten to remain silent and have gotten into useless arguments. I've got to hand it to him that he's an incredibly effective button pusher.

Tony C said...

God bless you Tracy. My dad would have punched me square in the mouth if I had proposed that idea!

We are shallow breathers by nature, and deep breathing accomplishes a number of things...not the lest to include keeping us from punching someone in the mouth.

You know how I feel about New Age garbage...but dad sure could have been more zenful.

photogr said...

Great way to handle that situation.

Kids today are influenced by peer pressure that promote this as an OK idea to make money. However the ramnifications of this action is quite severe legally and morally.

My dad would have probably belted me in the mouth for that suggestion if it ever came up back then too but he was always open to my ideas to make money if it meant I had to work for it legally.

He even supported me in my racing ventures as a teen ager as long as it was mot on the streets.

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