Safety disputes and the subject of allowance

  • Sunday, August 31, 2014

Dear Liz,

Help me win an argument please? We were over on Folly Road the day of the crazy heavy rain and flooding. (We didn't get much east of the Cooper.) My husband (he is a good driver, I'll give him that – most of the time) insisted it was fine to drive through the water on the road, which was quite deep. He says he knows Folly Road and knew our car would be fine. I've always heard NOT to do that – and we've been at odds since.

I know it sounds silly, but the atmosphere in our home has been tense since then, and I don't like that for the children or us.

P.S. The children were in the car.

Flooded with tears

Dear “Flooded...”

You are right to reduce tension from contention as quickly as possible. You are right to want to RESOLVE (not necessarily “win”) an argument. You are right the want to protect your children physically from possible harm and trauma and from bad feelings between their mom and dad.

From a safety standpoint, there is a saying by emergency officials that says, “Don't drown, turn around!” They are referring to flooded roads and flash flooding.

So, to resolve the issue from an official standpoint is regardless of how well you know the road, you do not know what is going on in or under the water. In many cases, pieces or all of a familiar road can be compromised and even disappear from the force of the surface and ground water. We do get sinkholes. There are more deaths from flooding, particularly flash flooding, than from any other storm event.

In this case, the wisdom would be to turn around, find high ground and stay put until the flooding resides or change your plans and go elsewhere.

One last note. Have you noticed that men don't like to be corrected, especially about driving or any performance issue for that matter. Their egos are tied to being effective, protective and having answers. So, understanding this: I would advise having a copy of this article along with any road flooding information you can pull from the South Carolina Highway Department, Ready.gov or Charleston County Emergency Preparedness websites and don't “brag” about “being right” (he'll likely disagree with your resources). Instead you may want to thank him for wanting to keep you all safe, and that the experience in the flooding scared you and you'd appreciate him considering this. If he refuses, when the weather is bad, consider taking your own car or not going at all.

I hope this helps us all be safer and more safety-aware.

P.S. My husband says another approach may be for you to say, “This still makes me nervous. Would you mind getting out and walking in front of the car and I'll drive. That way, if you sink up above your waist, your neck or fully disappear, I'll know I was right!” My husband is funny. He always tells me when I say, “I'm going crazy,” “You don't have far to go.”

Yes, be smart and safe, but always keep a sense of humor!

Dear Liz,

Quick question. Allowance or no allowance? Children ages 9, 11, 13.

Money tree

Dear “Money Tree,”

Children need to start learning about money, how to manage it and use it wisely, and as a tool as early as possible. All too often they get poor modeling and see contention around it, but never are taught the value of a dollar, the concept of trading your time for money through work and the value of delayed gratification.

Daveramsey.com has some fantastic resources for parents to use in teaching children about money. His daughter even has a new book out. I'd start there. Good for you for getting your children on the right road. So allowance? Yes. Opportunities to earn more? Yes. Budgets for school clothes for older children, teens? Yes. Helping children wait and save for a desired special item? Yes.

Please send your questions and comments to asksharpliz@ gmail.com. Liz Brisacher Sharp is a Masters-level Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice with 35 years experience in mental health including serving as a school counselor, and as a consultant and mediator. Liz is known for her many years as a TV news and weather broadcaster, and longtime columnist for the Lowcountry Sun.

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