My main philosophy for dealing with children and teens is this:
So far it’s worked.
In the classroom and out.
I’ve told teens that I teach, “If you do that one more time, I’m going to photocopy my face 29 times.” This causes a moment of silence, before one of them challenges me to do it.
Why do you think Robin Williams hopped on a desk to recite poetry? (Besides the fact that it was in the script of Dead Poet’s Society). That’s right, Professor John Keating acted more strangely than his private school students because it got their attention. And maybe taught them a life lesson about perspective. Or balance.
This works for my children too.
When Vivian and William argue in the backseat of the minivan, I turn off the radio and start singing O Canada in my best-worst Leonard Cohen voice. They stop. So does traffic if my windows are rolled down.
I also have been known to become an asthmatic Donald Duck, sneezing several times—like the ancient archetypal Disney character with a speech impediment—to get kids’ attention.
This isn’t in any parenting books.
Don’t leave me alone here or I’m going to have to hop on my desk.
Tell me about a time when you’ve acted strangely in order to get attention.