We have such good quality conversations and/or laughter, whether serious or not on the way to school in the mornings. While kiddo is not a morning person, usually we can talk in the car.
Kiddo: (tells me story about something that happened at school yesterday)
Kiddo: "I just couldn't tell him no!"
Me: (thinking teachable moment)
Me: "Yeah, not being able to say no worries me"
Kiddo: lol, not like that momma, you know I can say no, I say no to chores all the time
Crazy kid!! What?
(after a rough start to the morning and serious ODD issues)
Me: What's going on? What are you stressed about?
Kiddo: I don't know
Me: Well, if you did know, what would you tell me
Kiddo: Weirdo!! Okay, I'm worried you and daddy are mad at me
Me: Huh? Why?
Kiddo: Over my grades (report card last week)
me: What did we do Saturday?
Kiddo: Went to the movies and Game Stop
me: and what was that a reward for?
Kiddo: The good grades (laughs)
Kiddo: But there were some bad test scores
Me: You applied yourself this time, no missing assignments, full participation and obvious you worked hard on it. Why would we get mad about that?
Kiddo: I guess you wouldn't.
Get to school, drop her off
Me: I love you, have a great day
Kiddo: Blah, blah (laughs again)