Thanks for the talk, Mom
Yesterday at lunch I was talking to a coworker about the shooting in Tucson, and having read that Jared Loughner lived with his parents, we both expressed astonishment that he lived with family who must have known he was troubled, but that I imagine had no idea how deeply unbalanced their child had become.
Later in the afternoon I got a text from my highly agitated tween. A boy she rides the bus with had called her the n-word. More on the details of that incident to follow, but I saw an opportunity that in the moment, seemed so much bigger and more pressing than the n-word. Last night after everything had settled down I pulled her into my room & had a conversation with her about how we choose to react to "really, really bad” things that others say, and what we lose & miss out on if we choose to invest our energy in someone else’s drama.
Anyone who’s ever tried to tell a tween girl ANYTHING knows doing so is generally an exercise in futility. And we’ve had these conversations before, but usually about petty sibling or peer or team rivalry… Never about a situation like this, so I wasn’t expecting great success. In fact, I almost expected her to stomp out with a huff and a “never mind!”
As I turned away after kissing her goodnight about 45 minutes later, she said, “Thanks for the talk, Mom.”
I don’t know if her tendency towards drama is going to change, but I know that she listened AND she heard. It wasn’t the first time, or the fifth time, or the fifteenth time we’ve discussed how we can’t control others, only ourselves.
Keep talking. Even if you’re talking to the back of them as they walk away rolling their eyes because you just don’t get it.