Q. After listening to one of your presentations, I went back home and apologized to my 15-year-old son for telling him to stop fiddling and to look at me when I talk to him. He said, “Mom, when I fiddle with something I hear and really listen to every word you say. When you make me stop and look at you I shut down and don't remember a thing you say.” We both thank you! How come I didn’t know this sooner?

A. Yes, he likely hears little if anything when you try to make him be still and look at you. Especially with boys, it is often so much more effective to just sit down together, side by side, and chat while he is “doing” something. It can be as simple as playing with a Lego toy or running a little model car up and down his thighs or the arm of the sofa or however a teenager want to “fiddle.” Good for you! Saying you are sorry can make a huge difference in relationships, especially with children. I am so willing to apologize for behaviors I exhibited when I lacked information that could have changed them. You can only do better when you know better. Much of this information is becoming available because of brain scanning equipment and a plethora of studies, the conclusions of which are now being released. Stay tuned. We’ll learn more!

 

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