Parents tell me stories.

I listen for the wording and try and picture what’s being told, that is, who is doing what and how the interaction takes place

Just like playing poker, there are often certain “tells,” minor clues that reveal the larger the picture.

Listen to Marianne talk about the story of the nightly homework ritual with 9-year-old Felicia.

(As Marianne starts the story, Felicia sits grumpily next to her unhappy that she has no access to her cell phone.)

“Well, we usually start our homework around 7.  If we do a good job, then there’s about 45 minutes or so of iPad playing and then it’s time for us to go to bed. In the morning we get ready for school.”

(Felicia rolls her eyes throughout.)

The “tells” suggest that the mom is in too deep.  Is it her homework or Felcia’s?  Does she go to bed with Felcia?  Do they get dressed together and brush each other’s teeth?

Give or take, past the age of five or so most kids can handle things that are given to them at their appropriate level.

Takeaway Point

Double-check yourself the next time you we “start to do our homework.”

You don’t want to be giving away your money at the poker table.

Copyright, Richard Selznick, Ph.D.  2022,

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