Even though everyone in your family speaks – or will speak – a common tongue, you will have to relearn one language and learn yet another. The first is the language of boys and the second, the language of girls.
These are unspoken and play out in actions and gestures, stances and looks. And it requires considerable attention to comprehend; each family has its own particular dialects and slang and are prone to change over the years. Pay attention carefully and watch the interplay.
While on vacation, I’ve had to remind myself of boy language – uttered by a child or youth who might have the words but not the skill, judgment or humility to utilize them. A boy’s mouth is a dangerous thing and it proved to be so one night while on vacation. Harsh words were spoken by this Dad, who was put out by the "smartass" remarks to more than just me. I left the room after making myself heard and the son went elsewhere. After a half hour, Son entered another room I occupied and proceeded with a lengthy ballet to assess whether "the situation" was indeed finished. He sat nearby and made comments about the Olympics, asked questions about what was being discussed. Still ticked, I finally left the room; he waited a bit longer and then joined me again to continue the dance.
This ballet continued until I remembered the Boy Language and relented with a hug, tucking away the anger.
The Klingons believe that Revenge is a dish best served cold. I likewise believe that a learning conversation is also best cold, after the initial heat has subsided and the child’s feeling no longer threatened. This particular Father/Son conversation continued the next day.
A son really does want your approval. He might be stung by your reprimand or – hopefully – embarrassed by the thoughtlessness of the action. Regardless, this desire to make right and regain your approval will find a way through the silence imposed by the pride.
And it will, if you remember to look for it.