Parenting Strategies with the Venn Diagram

An Awesome Mom’s Solution to
Teenage Crop Tops and Revealing Clothing

It might not seem like the minor skirmishes between mothers and daughters carry much weight, especially when you’re looking at the major problems (like sex and drugs). Nevertheless, don’t underestimate those small irritating moments, because if you accumulate enough of them, synergistically their negative effects compound, even if they’re not related.

However, what do you think would happen if you could convert one daily tussle of wills into a cooperative interaction? How do you think that would impact your relationship over the course of a month?

Before you say that changing one thing a day won’t amount to much, think about this. Not only would you be eliminating one hassle a day, you’d be adding a moment where You Reach an Agreement Every Day!

Over time, you’d be demonstrating for your tween or teen that:

  • you actually can get along (in certain situations)
  • you don’t just “always want to say NO
  • you respect their opinions, even when yours differs
  • when they handle things right, you can be pretty cooperative

While you’re busy chipping away at negative interactions and expectations, you’ll also be chipping away at the negative foundation they create, the one that props up the big arguments about major teenage issues (The Inevitables). Those problems won’t disappear, but they will be easier to address because you’ll have a stronger foundation to fall back on.

An Awesome Mom’s Question

Dear Deborah,

What if my teenage daughter and I don’t get along? What if it seems like every time I approach her, she gets moody or sullen, or we end up arguing, especially over clothing? How can I improve our relationship?

Advice for Awesome Moms on Teaching Kids to Negotiate Gracefully

Welcome to the versatile Venn Diagram, that splendiferous, fabulously perfect illustration of Common Ground. It’s a graphic used to clarify differences and similarities, and in the right hands, can teach your kids how to negotiate gracefully.

Math uses them.

Science uses them.

And now, Awesome Moms like you can parent with them!

The Revered Venn Diagram

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.

Section C is the magical 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. (And I don’t just mean hers!)

I LOVE Section C of This Parenting Tool!

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 to the inevitable banging of heads over crop tops and leggings, and I knew I was in trouble.

One day I was using this graphic in my classroom to teach comparing and contrasting opposing scientific opinions. Suddenly it hit me. I could use that undervalued Venn Diagram to diffuse petty arguments when my Awesome Daughter inexplicably didn’t buy into my Awesome Opinions.

From that point forth, I always descended on the mall armed with Section C of a viable Venn Diagram. Shopping for clothes with my daughter instantly transformed from a mother-daughter battle, into a fun and pleasurable experience for the both of us.

I always began by orienting the two of us, before we left for the store, by making two circles with my fingers, 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…” I’d shake my left hand in front of her nose, “is what you love on you.”

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

Yes, the sublime Section C of the venerable Venn Diagram always came to the rescue.

How Moms Can Rock the Venn Diagram

This parenting tool always worked for me and my girl, 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 (including crop tops).

3. There was no arguing allowed because…

• We were both entitled to our opinions.

• Arguing wasted time for both of us.

Arguing with an angry teenager is like
trying to teach a pig to sing.
The pig never learns 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. Besides, whatever it was she had been pining for was forgotten by the time her purchases were displayed on her bed for Daddy to see.

Shopping turned into something we both enjoyed doing together. And, why not? Every time we shopped, we returned home with our bundles, individually satisfied that we had each gotten our own way.

I guess you can say we both learned how to negotiate gracefully.

Here’s a free printable copy of the Venn Diagram.
Use it in good health! 

Send me an email if you’d like many more ideas and strategies for bridging the gap between you and your kids, or, if you want to keep the gap from forming.

You got this, Mama!

Have fun with your kids today!



Have questions? Contact Deborah today.

About the Author

Deborah Ann Davis (B.S. in Science Education, M.Ed. in Supervision, and W.I.T.S Personal Trainer Certified) is a parenting coach and strategist.

Whether you’re looking to bring more positivity into your life, or you’re ready to seek the advice of a Parenting Coach, she’s eager to help you put happiness back into parenting.

Deborah has decades of experience dealing with teenagers – as a mother, and as an educator. Over the years, she has helped hundreds of families, using her expertise and experience.r.

Learn how to improve your mother-daughter relationship today. Every minute you delay prolongs the isolation your child feels while disconnected from you. She’s waiting for you to figure it out, so why not skip the “trial and error” parenting route? 

Don’t forget to book your Free 30 Minute Chat.

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