Levels of Relationship
1. B.S. Level. In short, bus stop conversation - what you would talk about while waiting for the bus. This is where you discuss topics and subjects that are not that important to you, things like the latest baseball scores, a recent movie, the weather.
2. Gossip Level. This is the juicy stuff, the details, rumors, and exaggerated stories of other people's lives - based on a kind of self-esteem through disparagement. Exchanging gossip also gives us the illusion of intimacy.
3. Ideas and Opinons Level. These discussions happen only when there is some trust between the parties. At the very least, you need to listen to one another, even if it's just to debate. But this level really points to discourse beyond debate, to when you are sharing some of your more intimate and vulnerable beliefs. This may include religion, family, career, life's meaning. This level is the sharing of ideas and beliefs that leave us feeling vulnerable, and then recognizing and taking care of that same vulnerability in the person with whom we are speaking.
4. Emotions and Feelings Level. We are secure in sharing and exploring our emotions with another. This is when we may spontaneously well up with tears or laugh aloud. We tend to to the other person's well-being and trust that he or she will do the same for us.
5. Self leve. Words are almost unnecessary; presence is more important. This is when you go for a walk with a friend, barely converse, and have a great time. And part of that great time was in sharing the space with that person. You are totally comfortable with the silence. The silence makes you feel even more comfortable, and somehow closer, too.
Extending your comfort zone:
1. Catch your breath. If you've instinctively said no, step back and reconsider.
2. Make a list of your concerns: sex, alcohol, sex, durgs, sex, no sleep, sex.
3. Now share them with your daughter.
4. Listen to what she has to say. Listen some more. Is she sincere? Do her suggestions help?
5. Ask some more qustions.
6. Point out the stakes - a mess-up here would cost her for a long, long time.
7. Take some time alone. Slow everything down. Ask yourself the following important questions:
- is the concept of a coed sleepover something you can legitimately consider?Sorry, honey, but I just can't do this. The risk is too high, wish I could be more flexible, but I can't on this one.
- is there is a coed sleepover structure you can live with, what is it?
- if you and your duaghter agree to a structure, will you hold up your end? That is, if even one agreement is breached, will you act? If not, you need to say no.
Business is based on outcome. Education is based on process.
"Was it a good test? if it is, it will forece you learn more, put together what you already know in new ways. Did your idea for the paper come in a fherry, or gradually, over time? Surprise yourself at all by what you wrote?"
You and your opinions matter deeply to your teenagers. During adolescence, they probably will never tell you this directly, but it's still true. And this is just another reason to focus on your connnection with your teenager, becuse as the connection deepens you'll have more and more opportunities to see the truth in this statement - either through indirect comments or through the fleeting looks on their faces.
Don't pay attention to setting limtis, negotiating guidelines, and generally looking out for the well-being of the kids.
Think about the relationship between you and your teen and identify three words that you want to define the relationship - kind, lovig, inspirational, respectful, trusting, honest, empathetic, etc. As you go forward, remind yourself daily of these qualities while asking yourself how your actions of that day impacted these three qualities in your relationship with your teen.