Welcome to the Versatile Venn Diagram, that splendiferous, fabulously perfect illustration of Common Ground. It’s a graphic used to clarify differences and similarities. Math uses them. Science uses them. And now, Awesome Moms and Awesome Daughters can use them.

 Circle A represents your choices. Circle B represents your daughter’s choices. Circle A choices makes her roll her eyes and throw her hands up in frustration. The choices in Circle B make your teeth grind.

But the intersection of those two circles at the splendid Section C, that overlapping of your two worlds, that is where the magic happens. Section C is your friend. Section C consists of the choices you both love. It is the realm of Everybody-Wins, void of conflict and competition. Section C is where relationships are skirmish-free, and conflict goes to die. Section C saved my daughter and myself from many a temper tantrum.

I love Section C.

I first realized I was going to need some kind of clothes-shopping strategy when my five-year-old began arguing over every outfit. She wanted ensembles that exposed her little round tummy. My mind fast-forwarded ten years, and I knew I was in trouble.

 One day I was using the graphic in my science classroom to teach comparing and contrasting opposing theories. Suddenly it hit me. I could use that undervalued Venn Diagram to diffuse petty arguments when my Awesome Daughter didn’t buy into my opinion. Yes, the sublime Section C of the venerable Venn Diagram came to my rescue.

I sallied forth to the mall, armed with Section C of a viable Venn Diagram. Shopping for clothes with my teenage daughter instantly transformed into a fun and pleasurable experience for both of us. Before we’d leave for the store, I’d orient us by making a circle with each hand, and holding them up so the circles overlapped. Voila! Instant Venn Diagram visual.

“This,” I’d say, waving around my right hand, “is what I love on you. This…” The left hand would shake under her nose, “is what you love on you.”

Overlapping the two circles, I would peer through the oval my fingers created at my daughter, that superb Section C. “This is what we’re going to buy. You’re not going to argue with me because everything in here will be something you love.”

And it always worked, but with three caveats.

  1. She had to try on everything I suggested.
  2. I had to permit her to try on anything she wanted to.
  3. There was no arguing allowed because
    • We were both entitled to our opinions.
    • Arguing wasted time for both of us.

Trying to argue with an angry teenager is like trying to teach a pig to sing. The pig doesn’t learn how to sing, and you just end up annoying the pig. If my daughter started fussing about a garment I was nixing, I’d just hold up my fingers to form that sassy Section C and say, “Venn Diagram, sweetie, Venn Diagram. Remember, you’re going to love everything you bring home.” She’d calm right down. And whatever it was she had been pining for was forgotten by the time her purchases were displayed on her bed. Every time we shopped, we returned home with our bundles, individually satisfied we had gotten our own way.

Not all teenage girls fly off the handle, or blow things out of proportion. But if you are living with a human rollercoaster, it can be very difficult to find resolution for:

  • What she should be allowed to wear
  • How much makeup is appropriate
  • Hemlines and necklines
  • Food and beverage intake
  • Movies, music and books
  • Dating, parties and socializing

Use the valiant Venn Diagram whenever you have a choice to make together, or when you have differing opinions. Draw the two circles, designate one for you and one for her, and brainstorm. As the ideas spill from your lips, put the ones you both enjoy into the splendiferous Section C, and separate the ones she’s not keen on from the ones that curdle your cream into their designated spheres. Then zoom in on that saucy Section C. You are both going to love the great and powerful Venn Diagram!

I hope you enjoyed this excerpt from the upcoming How To Keep Your Daughter From Slamming the Door

You can find a free printable copy of the Valuable Venn Diagram here. Use it in good health! Let me know what you used it for and how it worked for you.

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