When your young teen has decided to try his hand at backing the car out of the garage after you’ve told him he’s not ready, and the bumper’s scraped, the bushes have a hole in them, and you’re about to let loose with a barrage of #%$@* that would set fire to ice, stop….take a deep breath….and try this response suggested by psychologist Haim Ginott, in his book Between Parent and Child.
Describe the situation: “Son, you just backed through the bushes.” sigh (“Yeah, Dad.”)
Tell how you feel about it: “And I’m really ticked off at you!”
Leave!: “In fact, I don’t know what I’ll do if I stay here. Pull the car back in the driveway, clean up the mess and come into the house.”
By the time he comes in the house you’ll have calmed down and will probably be more able to talk with him about the incident without unnecessarily lecturing, criticizing and degrading him, and will be able to work out a solution. And remember, solutions are best when they are worked out by the child:
“So, what do you think needs to be done about it?”
(“Well, Dad, I think I can pay for the damage out of my pizza shop check next week, and maybe go to the nursery for a new bush, and….okay….ground myself tonight….I’m really sorry.”)