Today I present a situation involving my friend,
Denise, and her daughter, Veronica. Veronica is 11 years-old and wanted
to have her hair highlighted like all her friends but Denise was
opposed to the idea. While discussing the situation with me, Denise
realized that she was concerned about the maintenance costs of
highlights and the damage that would be done to her daughter’s
beautiful hair if she started applying chemicals to it at her early
age. Of course, Denise had explained none of this to Veronica.
What she did say was, “No, you are too young to have your hair
highlighted. Just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean you
should. If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?” Does that sound familiar? What I suggested instead is that she
tell Veronica her concerns.
Denise started by saying she wanted to revisit their conversation
about highlights. Denise agreed to Veronica’s initial request to be
given the highlights as a birthday gift. But then, she asked Veronica
what her plan was for upkeep. Denise explained that she would have to
have the highlighting process done every two months or so and that it
would cost approximately $60 each time. Denise offered to pay Veronica
money for helping out doing extra chores around the house to help with the cost of the highlights.
Since Veronica had agreed to this before and failed in her follow
through, Denise asked another question. She said, “Veronica, I know you
have agreed to do extra chores in the past and you didn’t consistently
follow through. If history repeats itself and you don’t have the money
you need for the highlights, are you prepared for what your hair will
look like once the roots grow out?”
She also discussed with Veronica the concern for the health of her
hair. She said that starting to put chemicals into one’s hair at eleven
did not bode well for maintaining healthy looking hair into adulthood.
Denise marveled at what happened next. She said that what had been a
heated battle between them for months turned into a non-issue. Veronica
decided she no longer wanted highlights in her hair. She realized that
she probably wouldn’t do the chores to earn the extra money needed and
that she didn’t want to look “weird” while her hair was growing out.
It’s amazing what happens when we align ourselves with our opponent’s
resistance. It’s a concept that has been taught in martial arts within
the physical realm for centuries but it can easily be applied to the
mental realm in parenting just as easily.
If you'd like to learn more about practical application to specific parenting problems, then check out our Empowerment Parenting Home Study Course.