I want to take a break from sharing examples of situations with my teenage girls, and explain the general model I used in interacting with them on topics that were not that simple. Though I had broad and general philosophies, there were multiple instances of shorter term relatively complex scenarios that I dealt with at various times when they were pre-teens and teenagers. The last few blogs are examples, and upon reflection I realized I dealt with these intermittent situations essentially the same - intentionally.
I believe any who have read my book or my blogs would pick-up that I was intentional in raising my daughters. I would also state the obvious - to be intentional, you must have an intent. To what level you are intentional is relative, in this blog I will share the deliberate way I dealt with such diverse situations that were not "cookie cutter."
At some point I could trace each scenario to one of my respective philosophies. Whether I had actually shared my thoughts or simply established an opinion, preferably before I was practically challenged with a real-world scenario, I had a viewpoint. Either way, in most instances, the broad philosophy in some form gave me enough reference to guide my eventual parental actions.
The next level was identifying a "strategic aim," which is a "desired outcome" but beyond the specific (and limited) situation at hand. The examples I have been sharing were specific instances, but each connected to a broader aim - whether empowerment, resilience, or relationships (to name a few). The difficulty is in not exclusively focusing on the specific problem, but contextualizing or connecting the specific problem/situation to the broader philosophy and longer range desired outcome.
That "connective tissue" is found in the approach. The approach sets the tone and best ensures the individual circumstance is tied to the general. As such, the way it is dealt with is aligned to both the strategic aim and the philosophy. That the importance of the specific does not get too big and compromise the longer term goals. This can determine what is talked about (during and after), how it is framed (i.e. something to learn from) and how the parent reacts. I had several approaches, both in the abstract and the practical, where I talked about and set conditions beforehand, or figured it out during a given situation. I say during because a given situation is rarely that short - you have the event, the discussion immediately after and then (typically) a follow-up. Even if actions were taken before a given event, I had to assess if the approach applied during was applicable and how to adjust afterwards.
Upon reflection, this was the norm. Whatever the actual occurrence, good or bad, I was deliberate in understanding the short, mid and longer term ramifications; the lesson that applied in order to decide on the approach; quickly figured out the desired outcome (short, mid and long); and assessed how my approach and "strategic aim" aligned with the applicable philosophy. Getting all of that straight allowed me to talk with my girls in the best tone with appropriate urgency throughout their teenage years. And for my intent to ultimately be realized.