When I tangle with my toddler, I can always seek refuge in Dr. Benjamin Spock’s sage advice.
That Doc Spock rocks! He knows his stuff. I’ve been referring to the same dog-eared volume of “Baby and Child Care” on my nightstand since the early ’90s, when I faced the uncertain future of life with newborn Girl from the West. Although this well-read book addresses the issues of adolescence in a general manner, even the late-physician admitted much of it is up to the parents’ discretion.
I have a library of books on baby care, early childhood matters and illness. There is another slew of tomes on adoption-related matters. But nothing is worth its weight in advice on the wrangling of teens. Why is this?
Teens have a special radar I call PBS — parental bullshit sensor –that kicks in whenever adults approach them with newfangled, warm-fuzzy techniques of communication. This I know being a child of the ’70s, when such methods were thrown around like rice at a wedding. None of it stuck. All those so-called “mod” adults who wanted to sit around on woven rugs and have “rap sessions” with us teens really just made us want to gag. We didn’t want to hear any of their hippie nonsense.
The closest thing to an effective tool may have been those “Scared Straight” assemblies in high school. You know, the one where the ex-con, former herion addict stands before an auditorium full of bored adolescents telling sordid tales of collapsed veins, hepatitis and jail time. It scared me, a little. I don’t know about its overall success rate.
I’ve decided there’s only one way to go. What we need here is Mr. Spock.
You don’t mess with this guy. He is half Vulcan. He has pointed ears and inquisitive eyebrows. He is all about business and logic. There is no warm. There is no fuzzy. You will not find yourself rappin’ with this guy on a hemp rug. Try to a finagle your way out of taking the trash out with this guy. It’s not going to fly. If you push him too far — you face a mind meld or worse, the Vulcan Nerve Pinch.
This is what I need to learn. I’m looking through our city’s continuing education brochures, the local enrichment catalogs. So far, I’m not finding these classes offered. Is it more of an underground thing? Do I need to know a code word? Is there an unmarked door down a dark alley I have to knock on three times to gain access to this world? If anyone knows, send me an e-mail. I’m desperate for a solution.
In the meantime, beam me up.