Coach or nag?

Jerry hasn’t quite worked through his own buttons yet, namely mess-making and sister-fighting. Last night we were sitting at the table and Ellen picked up a sippy cup full of water and sprinkled some on the floor. “Ellen!” said Jerry, “Why did you just put that on the floor!” his facial expression screaming disapproval. I caught his eye and said, “Paper towel?” in my most light-hearted voice. He looked at Ellen and mimicked my tone, “Get a paper towel, please!” Fenner chimed in, “Well that was a change in attitude!” Yep, workin’ on it.

Later I was helping Ellen clean her room for her birthday party the next day, and Fenner came sulking in the door. “I hit Charlotte on the head with the remote because she was making this noise over and over and it made me so mad! And then Daddy came in and said, ‘no more TV’ and started treating Charlotte all special. He does that a lot!” “Hmm,” I said. “I’ll be right back.”

I found Jerry in the kitchen. “Hi.” “Hi … I’m feeling upset.” “Why?” I thought for a moment, and then said, “I need my partner. I need you to be on board with this thing.” “So I’m supposed to act like it’s ok that she hits Charlotte on the head with the remote?” “We are ignoring their fights, we’re not judging.” “I don’t think telling her it’s wrong to hit her on the head is judging,” he replied. “You’re interfering with this process we signed up for. If you rescue Charlotte, she’ll think we think she needs rescuing, that she can’t stand up for herself and she’ll play the victim even more.” He looked down and paused and then looked up again. “Ok.” “Can you do it?” I asked. “Yeah.” “Ok,” I said and stuck out my hand. And then we shook on it.

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

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