Selective conversations with parents.

When to keep your mouth shut.

It's Christmas and we are all sitting around the tree opening our presents. A fire is roaring in the fireplace and the snow flakes shimmer outside the picture window. It is mom's turn to open dad's gift to her. She excitedly strips away the wrapping paper and tears open the box to reveal a beautiful long fuzzy pink robe. There is a look of shock on her face as she mindlessly blurts out her displeasure. The room is silent. Dad is silent. Mom returns the robe to the box and pushes it aside and hands another present to one of us. But the dynamics of the evening are immediately changed and respectful selective conversations complete the evening.

Mom and dads wedding.
Mom and dads wedding.

And so it was in our family, conversations, selective or not, were pretty much non existent. It was more directive, reactive communication. The children were pretty much aware of the things that would set mother's Italian temper off and dad was just her love struck puppy. Don't get me wrong, our house was very warm and loving. Our childhood was pretty much a storybook existence fabricated by mom and executed by dad.  Mom would tell us stories of her youth. One of my favorites was how she and my aunt Anna would sit on their bed and pretend they were on a plane to America. Obviously, her dream was a well concocted life vision. We were part of the master plan and she was the carpenter of our destiny. What she hadn't written into the script was my fathers sudden death at the age of 39. Leaving her alone with four children. This is when we all found out that directive reactive conversation by parents can backfire big time. And the beginning of my introduction to selective communication as a personal communicative tool.


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