I’ve parented teens, so I think I should be better at handling off-the-wall remarks. Unfortunately, I am too often caught off guard when I hear something that strikes me as provocative, irritating or just plain “wrong.”

I heard a great suggestion today that will be helpful when I have the urge to respond with something like, “What in the HECK are you talking about?”

Try “Let’s talk about that” instead. It opens to door to more conversation, increasing the chance the both parties will learn from the encounter.

I may not be the master of my emotional state all the time, but I can choose my reaction. I choose to practice, “let’s talk about that.” Hopefully I’ll also remember to stop talking (or planning what to say) long enough to listen.