HALF THE TROUBLES IN THIS LIFE CAN BE TRACED TO SAYING YES TOO QUICKLY AND NOT SAYING NO SOON ENOUGH.

“When my daughter was a teenager, she came to me asking permission to drive two hours with friends to go to a rock concert. There was no way I was going to let her do that when she was 13. In order to hold the line, I needed to use a technique called the broken record.”

“A long time ago, we had these circular things called records. A record was placed on a turntable and an arm with a needle on it was put onto the record so it could play. If a record was scratched (broken), it repeated the same phrase over and over and over again. Here is how it works in the situation with my daughter:

Daughter: “Mom, can I go to the rock concert with friends? (details)

Me: That sounds like fun. It doesn’t feel safe to me so no you are not going.”

D: “My best friends are all going. X is a really safe driver. Please!”

Me: That sounds like fun. It doesn’t feel safe to me so no you are not going.”

D: ”Mom! You’re always the one who says no to things I want to do. You don’t trust me!”

M: “I do trust you and it doesn’t feel safe so no you’re not going.”

D. “Honestly Mom, I’m not going to talk to you ever again!”

M: “I will miss our conversations and it doesn’t feel safe to me, so no you’re not going.”

There are three parts to the broken record: (1) An empathetic statement (I will miss our conversations)—the bridge is the word AND—then a statement to be repeated as many times as needed (it doesn’t feel safe to me so no, you are not going.) Think before you speak and hold the line with the broken record.

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Scott A. McDaniel photo