A reason to change

Kind of a tough day. But it’s getting me in gear for following through with our P&R plan. Even though there has definitely been more harmony in our family lately, they still need motivation to practice self control.

This afternoon I had to pull the car over. They were fighting about what music to listen to. “Charlotte, why do you always want to listen to that?” “Yeah, we’ve only listened to the other CD like two times! And we’ve listened to yours like ten … please Charlotte?” “No. … Stoooooop! Don’t doooooo thaaaaaat!”

I have no idea what one of them did to Charlotte, but she started crying hard. I pulled over, got out and told them to let me know when they were done fighting and I would keep track of how many minutes it took and subtract that from their bedtime visit.

Immediately Ellen cried out, “We’re done, Mom, we’re done!” “Yeah, we’re done,” said Charlotte, working very hard to stop crying. “Ok, what agreement did you come do?” I asked. “Um…not to listen to any music,” said Ellen. They all stared at me expectantly. “Ok,” I said and got back in the car. A minute later Ellen said, “Charlotte you can listen to your CD, just use the headphones.”

Meanwhile, Fenner had bought a new shirt that came with a little pink scarf. During the ride home, she said she didn’t like the scarf and asked Charlotte if she wanted it. Charlotte did. Back at home, we had all just finished eating dinner and Charlotte was tying the scarf around the post at the bottom of the stairs. Fenner walked over and tried to grab the scarf. “No! It’s in a family space and I’m having a turn!” yelled Charlotte. I looked away. The next thing I heard was Charlotte spitting at Fenner. Then out of the corner of my eye I saw Fenner lunge at Charlotte and kick at her hard. Her foot hit Charlotte’s stomach. Charlotte started wailing. Fenner and Ellen looked at me. I kept my eyes down, forcing myself not to give Fenner a dirty look. Then I walked upstairs and went into Jerry’s office. I sat, put my head in my hands, and took some deep breaths.

Fenner and Ellen were downstairs talking quietly and laughing. I could hear Charlotte calling for me. Then she said, “Mom? I stopped crying …” She still sounded sad. I took another minute to totally compose myself and then went back downstairs. “Hi,” I said to Charlotte as cheerfully as I could. In a shaky voice she said, “Mom, will you play a game with me?” “Yes. As soon as you do your reading homework with me.” “Ok.” We sat together on the couch and read. Charlotte had some writing work to do too and while she was doing that, Fenner walked by with the scarf in her hand. Impulsively I said, “Fenner, I thought you gave that scarf to Charlotte.” “I wanted it back. … Is it ok? Am I allowed to do that?” I didn’t answer. Charlotte said, “Well you could’ve just told me that!” “Well you didn’t have to tie it around the post!” Fenner retorted. Charlotte didn’t respond and Fenner went upstairs.

Bedtime went smoothly and we managed to end the day on a good note. But after today, I can’t wait to give them a good reason to stop the violence and find a better way.

Explore posts in the same categories: Week 8: Privileges & Responsibilities

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