Remote control

“Aaaauuugh!!!” I heard Jerry say in the living room. We had just finished another super-smooth bedtime and I was doing a few things upstairs. I came down to the living room. “Sorry,” he said, “but for this whole time you were upstairs I’ve been tearing this room apart looking for the remote. Watching TV just doesn’t work without the remote.” I helped him look and had a hunch that Charlotte had hidden it because she had done that a few days before and I found it placed carefully under one of the chairs. This time it was harder, but I finally found it tucked into one of the sewing bags.

I handed it to Jerry and he sat down heavily on the couch, clearly exasperated. “This just really bugs me. I come in here to relax and have to spend my time searching for the remote because of those kids.” “Have you explained the problem to them?” “Yes! I’ve asked them over and over, ‘Put the remote in a place where people can find it!’ … When this happens it’s like a bomb goes off in my head.” “Mmm. So … what do you want?” I asked. “I want more respect. More respect for this house and our things. They come in here and watch hours of TV and just … take advantage of it!”

I said, “Ok, I hear your frustration. I wish that just asking them to do it was enough, but it’s not working. So then we ask, what will it take? What will it take for them to put the remote back in the same place each time?” “I don’t know… Some kind of drastic measure,” he said. “I mean, I think watching TV is a privilege and they have a responsibility to put the remote where it belongs.” “Ok, so how about we say that if we come in here to have our TV in the evening and the remote is not put back on this table, then they lose TV for the next day?” “Ok, good. … Thanks, honey.” We’ll see if it works…

ps Later I casually told Charlotte about how we had to search and search for the remote last night and how frustrating it was. She thought for a minute and then said, “I did that. … I did that because if I don’t then I can’t watch my shows because Fenner and Ellen take the remote and they only watch their shows.” “Mmm,” I said, “and you want a turn too.” “Yeah, because if I don’t hide it from them, they come and take it out of my hand and turn it to their show.” “I see. It’s hard to have a turn if they do that.” “Yeah, they always do that. And I mean always.” Good to know.

Explore posts in the same categories: Week 4: Four Mistaken Goals of Behavior

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