Acting Appropriately

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There are things our children do that are absolutely objectionable. They may be dangerous, disrespectful, or even illegal. Sometimes they do or say things that are objectionable, but are very cute, demonstrate high intelligence and/or express feelings that we share with them, but for any number of reasons we don’t want to share with the world.

I’m sure you can remember someone whose behavior was rude or insulting but whom you chose not to confront for some reason. Perhaps it was your boss, a neighbor you had to live in close quarters with for some time, or perhaps even a relative whom you had known was problematic (grouchy, overly sensitive or just intrusive). There are times when confronting these people directly but politely just didn’t result in any changes in their behavior. We generally then just bite the bullet and try to avoid them as much as possible, or try to avoid talking about the uncomfortable subject.

Then one day, Aunt Jenny is asking all kinds of questions. We are fending them off the best we can when out of the blue little seven-year-old Logan says, “How come you’re so nosy, Aunt Jenny?”

OK, what do you do? First of all, be the first one to speak. “Logan, that was rude! Please go to your room and think about why that is not OK. I’ll be in to help you in a little while.” Now you have to deal with Aunt Jenny, whose response can vary from shrugging it off as nothing to being personally offended.

Whatever the response, your comeback can be the same. “Don’t worry Aunt Jenny, I’ll take care of it later, so that Logan will have better manners.”

When you talk to Logan, you can make it clear that we need to think before we speak. We want to teach Logan that if something bothers him, he can talk to you later so that he is not insulting and hurting the feelings of others.

Now to the acting. When Logan said that Aunt Jenny was nosy, I’m sure you were surprised, but part of you agreed and you might have even wanted to laugh. You didn’t because you didn’t want to hurt her feelings, so you stifle your smile, act concerned and move on to a different subject. tj

The complete article can be found in Issue #276 of the Tokyo Journal. Click here to order from Amazon.


Written By:

Lorraine Al-Jamie

A United States House of Representatives Congressional Recognition Award Recipient, Lorraine is a retired licensed Marriage Family Therapist that specializes in assisting parents acquire skills that enhance their ability to raise high-functioning and happy children. She, herself, is a mother of 5 and grandmother of 10 and has spent the last 30 years helping young parents, children and adolescents work through their varied and many challenges. Prior to specializing in parenting, Lorraine worked for two decades treating children and adolescents at an out-patient center affiliated with Long Beach Memorial Medical Center in Long Beach, California. She has concentrated on teaching parents methods of interacting in ways that enhance the child's or adolescent's ability to make positive and effective choices. Parenting challenges often fluctuate between feeling helpless and somewhat ineffective, to heavy-handed and authoritarian. Being able to be an effective parent is a skill which needs to be learned and supported, and Lorraine has assisted parents by focusing on positive discipline approaches that assist in maintaining healthy relationships in the family while parents stay in charge of their children. Lorraine has helped parents deal with behavioral problems, impulse control problems, attention-deficit/hyperactivity issues, compulsive behavior, dissociative disorders, trauma, relationship issues, depression, anxiety or fears, loss or grief and school problems.


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