Monday, January 16, 2006

A Nifty Solution

We were riding to the insurance agent's office to adjust our coverages and stuff. You know, boring old-people stuff that no teen in their right mind would go anywhere near...unless they're in foster care and grounded, that is.


It was delicious making her go with us. It was even more delicious when The Wife started badgering "Josie" about her aversion to reading. She tried to claim that she gets headaches from reading. The Wife jumps on that and badgers her about getting an eye exam, then. The art of fostering is, in large part, the art of badgering; digging and digging until you strike a vein and the good stuff starts to pour out. "Josie" then backtracks and says simply "IT'S BORING, OKAY?"

Well, why didn't you say so?

Then she takes a different tack...a craftier approach. "What will you give me if I read your book and write a report on it?"

A stunning bit of parentcraft sprang into my mind and rebounded out my lips before I could really examine its potential. "How about a day off your grounding?"

The Wife's eyes met mine with a smile. Good one. "Josie": "Okay! Deal!" And there was mirth all around as we pulled into the insurance office's parking lot. I like to think Mom would be proud.

Assuming she follows through, she learns something from the book. She gets practice at reading, if not for pleasure than at least for something she actively wants. She gets a reward for doing something constructive. And The Wife and I have one less day on high alert status.

If she doesn't follow through, then she'll try to get out of the grounding early, fail, and learn that we're dependable in all ways, and not just the comforting ones. Everybody wins, no matter what. How often do you work out a deal like that?

The girl has a lot to learn. She could have easily negotiated an extra day.


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