It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Distractions are my Life

We Parents of Teens have a Serious Discussion. About children and parenting and decision and guidance. Sitting across the dining table.

“I think what I need to do is sit down with him and point out the decisions that face him.”

“Yes, because he tends to drift, and then a decision is made by default,”

“- a result of passivity -”

” – and he doesn’t realize he’s even made a decision.”

“Exactly. He makes a decision by virtue of inaction, then sees the results as something that ‘just happen’ to him.”

(This is my sweetie and I thinking together to create solutions to a shared concern. I just love the way we work together.)

“Then I think that, having had that conversation, I’ll –” My eyes have wandered just to the left of my sweetie’s head.

“WHAT is that lump on the wall?”

He peers over at the congealed whitish lump, a good two cm in diameter, protruding from the wall by his ear. Reaches for a kleenex. It comes off the wall with an audible “SNAP”. The Serious Conversation dies, drowned by laughter.

And, no, I don’t know what the lump was.

© 2006, Mary P

December 8, 2006 - Posted by | eeewww, parenting, random and odd


  1. wow… i’m getting a glimpse of why you said what you did on my site about needing to have your back to the room to have a conversation without distraction. but yeah, i have that problem sometimes too, suddenly noticing something and bringing it up without realizing i’m totally changing the subject. fortunately, i have forgiving friends. 🙂

    also, i agree with what you said about decisions by inaction. in my teaching program, we talk about that in terms of our decisions as teachers. basically, we talked about how there is no way to actually be neutral in any situation, because a lack of action takes a side just as strongly as action does. kind of a scary thought, to have so much responsibility in everything we do AND don’t do.

    Comment by lara | December 7, 2006 | Reply

  2. We can never finish a conversation either, but it’s usually because of something chaotic going on in the background. Although the lump…I’m not sure I want to know…

    Comment by Kristen | December 7, 2006 | Reply

  3. With my current pregnancy, I find this happening quite often and with rather more bizarre results. (I just had to sit through a 45-minute conference call. I’m just glad they coudn’t see me.)

    Comment by Kat O+ | December 7, 2006 | Reply

  4. Let me know how that conversation pans out!

    This topic interests me greatly as I already know lots of teens and people my age (including myself) suffering from passivity, apathy, and neutrality.

    On another note, I get fidgety and get distracted a lot. There’s a bizarre dent on my bedroom door. :

    Comment by Perichoresis | December 7, 2006 | Reply

  5. This is an all-too familiar scenario in our house. Kinda frustrating at times, but most times it’s just the norm. No wonder I often feel as if I never speak to my hubby about anything important!

    Okay, my curiosity is killing me. What the heck was it????

    Comment by Mama's Moon | December 7, 2006 | Reply

  6. It’s hard enough for us so-called grown-ups to make active decisions, especially when . . . oh, something shiny!

    Comment by Lady M | December 7, 2006 | Reply

  7. My kids are my biggest distraction. I’ve tried to converse with other adults at family/friend events, and find in the end I can only piece-meal the topics when everyone’s gone home. Very frustrating.

    Comment by Mamacita Tina | December 8, 2006 | Reply

  8. Ew.

    Comment by Haley | December 9, 2006 | Reply

  9. Oh that is so perfect. So the quintessential parent conversation. ANd the lump … I am with haley … ew

    Comment by sunshine scribe | December 9, 2006 | Reply

  10. Lara: Yup. I am distractable. In most situations, I wouldn’t just blurt it out like that – but at home, with my sweetie? It’s a safe place.

    A ‘decision by inaction’ is not an easy concept for a teenager. Hence the conversation, as we two adults try to develop a way we can teach this concept.

    Kristen: Chaos is less common here, given my kids are that much older. The lump – that was a leftover from my work day. Or maybe my work yesterday…

    Kat: Has my old nemesis, Maternal Amnesia, kicked in yet? The distract-ability, plus the forgetfulness are a killer combo…

    Perichoresis: First I have to make the conversation happen. He’s a busy young man. I’m not assured of satisfaction. His pattern is to nod and agree — and then just go on and do whatever he had planned. *sigh* But sometimes, just sometimes, he really does latch on to something. I can hope this will be one of those times.

    I also don’t expect, even if he’s willing and onside, that this is a pattern that can be changed by a single conversation or decision. It will take time.

    Mama’s Moon: It gets better as they get older! Promise!

    I can’t tell you what it was, though, sorry. I suspect it was a chunk of masticated banana – but it looked like nothing so much as an enormous booger. Ew.

    Haley: Indeed.

    Sunshine: We have lots of quintessential parent conversation, given we have eight kids between us. That’s a lot of conversation-fodder.

    Comment by Mary P. | December 9, 2006 | Reply

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