OWL (Offer of Wise-Minded Learning): Lie Low and Wear Beige
Use this technique when you hear your tween or teen talking to other kids about stuff that normally you would have big opinions on (this often happens during carpool). Maybe they are talking dirt about teachers or friends, or trashing values you hold sacred. Maybe they are doing some low-level complaining that normally you’d respond to; don’t. If they demand a response to their provocative commentary, just say, “I’m thinking about it.” The goal is to experiment with reacting less, listening and discovering what kids share when you are not an active participant in spirited exchanges. Obviously, you’ll step in if “over-the-line” material requires a response (humiliating or extreme cruel behavior), but in most cases, holding your tongue and letting the conversation play out can be quite enlightening.
Read about acceptance, coping with rudeness, and “Wise-Minded Parenting 101” in Wise-Minded Parenting: 7 Essentials for Raising Successful Tweens + Teens, in chapter 1: Secure Attachment.