The No Talk Clause: Advice I Promised I’d Give My Older Self

It's a rainy April Friday. I love rainy days, but they don't really like me. However, the storms aren't up to playing with my head this time around, and I'm okay with that. It's given me time to think while I catch up on laundry, dirty dishes, and this thing I need to share with my friends and fellow parents. It's called: The No Talk CIause.

I was a pretty good teenager back in the day. Some of my friends might even say I was a goody two shoes, but I would have to say to that, "Do you remember who my Daddy is?" I feared my Daddy, but I respected him more. Him and my Momma. I was raised up right; to love one another, to be kind to one another, and to respect one another, especially my elders. It worked well for me. Made sense to me. I abided by the rules...or else. And I wasn't much on finding out what "or else" meant. Except that one night when my timing was a little off, and I arrived home slightly later than expected. I was really good at learning from my mistakes. Needless to say, I never did that again.

When I became a Momma it was by instinct that I would raise my children to love, be kind, and respect others. Early on, Stan and I worked together as a team to enforce and reinforce these expectations for our kids. We learned through trial and error, how important it is to have positive consequences, and not just consequences for negative behavior. We learned the importance of knowing your kid's love language and honing in on what filled his or her love tank.

When our kids were still below our waistline, and not the taller versions of pre-teen and teens they are today, this idea came to mind. As I was watching them play, I began picturing them as teenagers and what might raising them at that age would look like. I made eye contact with Stan and with a heavy breath said, "They won't stay like this forever. And tell me what you think about this."

I proceeded with something like this: "When our kids are old enough to drive and go and do things with their friends, I think we need to have something in place for if they ever find themselves in a bind. Hypothetically, if [for whatever reason] any of our kids find themselves in a situation they need to get out of, then they should be able to call us [their parents] and say, 'This is a No Questions Asked situation. This is my location, and I need you to come get me.' And, we would do just that: pick them up, get them home to their safe and familiar surroundings, make sure they're ok, and let them rest.

But...

as soon as the morning breaks and the coffee is poured, we shall begin The Conversation. By waiting to have The Conversation, this allows for emotions to subside even moreso, because we know better than to give them a voice. Why? Because emotions can't be trusted! They are either too high or too low in intense situations. Therefore, it's better to rest on it for a bit and then chat about the events from the night before. We're not saying we won't talk about what happened, we are saying let's give our kids a 'lifeline' to use when they see no other way out of a sticky situation. Let's get them home and rested in order to discuss what happened and what, if any, negative consequences need to be enforced. Let's give us [all] time to stop and think and be choosy with our words. So, what do you think Stan?"

He liked it. Actually, he liked it a lot! We fussed and discussed some more about it and called it the "No Talk Clause". It's simply just a section from our "parenting rule book," a provision set in place and set aside to be used as needed. Of course, our hope as parents is that our kids never find themselves in a situation gone bad, but we were teenagers too once upon a time. We get it. Life happens. It doesn't necessarily mean that we were the ones that created the situation, but somehow, someway, we became apart of it and well, now what do I do? This is why the No Talk Clause was created and what it's purposed for.

Stan and I have shared this with a few of our friends and we wanted to share it with you. The parent who needs a No Talk Clause established in their home for your purposes. Since our talk so many years ago, we decided that this could be established earlier, that they didn't necessarily have to be teenagers in order to use it. And, there is no limit on how many times you use it. 

As of today, the No Talk Clause hasn't been "needed", yet, but we have several more years of parenting ahead of us. What has been great in sharing this with our kids is learning about ways they think they might need to use it. That has been very enlightening and the reason we decided to tell them about it early on.

I hope this helps you, parents! We're all trying to do our best at this thing called Life and especially when it comes to Parenting. Let's help build one another up and share our best insights!

Now time for another cup of coffee and At Home in Mitford.

Still learning. Still growing. 

Cassie