Judy: Mom? Uh.... Can I go to a concert at the Arena with Barbara, Patti, and Janet on Saturday night? Barbara's mom said she’d driv. I have birthday money for my ticket. Everyone’s parents already said they could go. I need to tell Barbara tomorrow so her Mom can buy the tickets. Can I go… please?.Avril/Mom: It’s Thursday…isn’t it kinda late to get good seats?Judy: No… it’s stadium seating... we can sit anywhere or even move up during the concert. Can I go?Avril/Mom: I don’t know. Who's the band?Judy: Uh... ummm... BDS...Avril/Mom: Who’s BDS? What’s BDS stand for?Judy: Uh... BloodyDeathSex...Avril/Mom: What!? Did you say BloodyDeathSex!!?
Judy: Don’t you trust me?Avril: I trust you. It’s everybody and everything else I don’t trust!Judy: You’ve been telling me I was responsible enough to make decisions. You’re a hypocrite if you say “But. not that decision!"
Avril/Mom: I know you don’t intend to do anything inappropriate.Judy: Yeah, Mom… I’m going with Barbara, Patti, and Janet – they’re more goodygoody than me! I won’t… we wouldn’t do anything stupid.
Therapist: Avril, you have been telling Judy that you trust her. It’s clear you want to tell her “yes,” but can’t help being a worried mother. Right?
Therapist: Avril, you want to be able to say “Yes, you can go…” and Judy, you want to hear “Yes, you can go.” That’s set. Now, how do you two make it so that Mom can say “Yes?” Judy?Judy: Just say “Yes.”Therapist: Your Mom can’t just say “Yes.” She needs motivation to say “Yes, I will let my daughter who I love more than anything … who I trust…is responsible… let her go to a BloodyDeathSex concert even though that scares the hell out of me!” Judy, make your Mom an offer she can’t refuse. Avril, you want an offer from Judy?Avril/Mom: Yeah. Help me out here, Judy. I know that you really want to go. I also trust you and your friends. I've raised you to make good choices. So, the answer is “Yes.” But, I worried.Judy: Oh Mom, you don't need to worry about me.Avril/Mom: I can’t help it.Judy (impatiently): That's your problem. Just don't worry. (to the therapist) Why do I have to make her an offer because she worries?Therapist: Well, you don’t have to. You don’t have to go to the concert. But your Mom is willing to let you go if you can come up with something. If you can’t… or won’t come up with something, then I guess you’re nott going. Right, Mom?
Judy: Just don’t worry… Why can’t you just chill?Therapist: There’s an answer to that. Why can’t your Mom just chill? Because she is your MOM! That’s what moms do… they can’t help it… they worry! It’s part of the Mom contract… worrying about the kid! Avril, is it possible for you NOT to be the Mom? Not to worry?
Avril: Even though I’m scared, I'm trying to let you be the teenager you need to be by being willing to let you go. But don't tell me not to be the mother that I am! Being Mom means that I care for and love you.... And worry about you. Don't tell me that I can't be the mother that I am, especially when I'm trying to let you be the teenager that you are!"
Therapist: Judy, being allowed to be who you need to be as a teenager, also means allowing your mother to be who she needs to be. Asserting power and control also means giving appropriate power and control. Reciprocal social responsibility -- what an amazing concept! This is what you’re experiencing going from a teenager to an adult. So, since Mom already agreed, you can go.... if you make her an offer, so that she feels comfortable enough to let you go. By the way, Avril, there’s nothing that Judy can say or do so you won’t worry. So, the goal is to be reassured enough so that you won’t worry too too much. Got it, Judy? Make her an offer that will reduce… not eliminate her worrying.
Judy: Why should I have to satisfy you?Avril/Mom: (remembering the default) You don’t have to. If you don't want to, then the answer changes to “no.” If you can't come up with something, you can't go. If you can, then you can.
Judy: If you let me go, I won't nag you anymore… I'll stop fighting with my little brother...
Judy; (impatiently) But why not?
Avril: (calmly) No, that doesn't work for me. Make me another offer.
Judy: Okay, I promise to be good... to stay in one place... not to drink or do drugs...to stay with my friends. How's that?
Judy: You saying you don't trust me!?
Avril: I already said that I trusted you. It is everybody and everything else that I don't trust. Besides, I asked you to make me an offer so that I don't have to worry as much. Make an offer.