Dear Write Me One,

I call them drive-bys. Remember, when a child is “camping out” in the survival part of their brain, they can only process 14 words at a time.   Any words after that resemble the Charlie Brown teacher, “Wah, wah, wah, wah-wah.”  Drive-bys give us short phrases that we can use with our children.

These drive-bys serve two purposes.  First, they serve to remind the child. Some examples may be, “Ooh, try again with respect;” “Asked and answered;” “Who’s the boss? I am so you can be safe;” “Use your words, not your behaviors to tell me what you need.”

The second purpose that drive-bys serve is to remind you the parent not to engage – not to argue – not to use logic on a child who is currently not using that part of their brain.  I will often “drop and walk.”  I’ll give a drive-by in passing, and keep going, allowing the 20 second processing delay to catch up which lessens the likelihood of a full-blown meltdown.

For children and families,