The talk

We did it! We started the clocks. We sat down with the girls and explained it all. All I can say is, they took it amazingly well. There were a few that’s-not-fairs, a couple I’m-bored-of-talkings, and lots of questions.


But, like Vicki says, this approach makes sense to kids. At one point Charlotte looked at us and said, “I know what you’re trying to do. You’re trying to make us cooperate and be respectful, and be nicer to each other.” Bingo.

Here’s my script, which I stuck to pretty well:

Guess what? We have been making more mistakes. For years now, we have been giving you privileges without finding out first if you’re ready to handle them. We’re really sorry, because it’s taken us so long to realize this that now you’ve gotten used to having these privileges and that makes it harder to have to give them up while you show us that you’re ready for them.


With these first 2, you’re almost there. You’ve been on time most every day, and you’ve been getting your homework done without any reminders, and you’ve been going to school every day.

‘Be able to go without’ for TV/computer means you can entertain yourself in other ways without complaining or bugging other people. We know how hard that can be, so daddy and I are going to do it with you. (Daddy and I will still use our computers for work and paying bills etc., but no games. Also, iTunes and homework – ok)

We have ‘Follow through with agreements’ on there because when you do earn your TV etc. back, we’re going to agree on how much is too much, and we’ll know we can count on you to turn it off when you reach that limit.

See what it says here about demonstrating cooperation and respect? First we want to say thank you because since we started this program, we’ve noticed a lot more cooperation and respect. So you guys are already half way there with that one.

For example, Charlotte, I’ve noticed that you have been a lot more calm and quiet in the living room when other people are trying to watch TV. And also, when Fenner kicked you yesterday, you did not kick her back even with all your karate training. That took a lot of self control.

Ellen, you’re being more helpful. When Charlotte forgot to set her alarm on Wednesday, you were willing to go wake her up. And I’ve noticed that you’re not yelling as much. That takes patience to keep your voice low even when you’re frustrated.

Fenner, you’re helping out more too. You took the garbage all the way to the top of the driveway – in the rain! And you were willing to help Charlotte get the oven set right, and remind her to use a potholder so she wouldn’t burn her hand. And the other day, when Ellen tried to help with the timer, but Charlotte didn’t want help, you made an effort to explain to Ellen why you thought Charlotte was upset.

So we’re seeing a lot more cooperation, respect, and self-control, and we want to say thank you for that. We’re a lot closer to our goal than we used to be.

What is our goal?

We want our home to be a safe place where you can be yourself and people accept you for who you are. We believe that relationships with the people we love are to be respectful. That means no hurting with hands, feet, or words.

We want:
ZERO hitting or kicking other people
ZERO name calling
ZERO yelling at other people

What else does respectful mean? Let’s play a game. I’m going to say things to daddy and you guys say either “respectful” or “not.”

1.    Who cares? None of your business, you dummy!
2.    That looks like fun, I would really like a turn. Could I have a turn please, when you’re done?
3.    Gimme that, it’s mine! If you don’t give that back, I’m going to go to your room and break something!
4.    Oh, darn, I left my special thing out here on the table, and now you’re having a turn, but I’m not feeling ready to share. Could I please have it back? And when I’m ready to share I’ll let you know.
5.    Look at this, look what I have [Have Jerry hit the thing out of my hand]
6.    Oh, I see. Thanks for showing me.
7.    Get away from me!!!
8.    Could you please move? I’m really needing a little more space.
9.    I hate you, you stupid dummy-head!!!!
10.    Ooooooo, when you do that I feel so angry, I need to go outside and scream!

This is not easy. It’s not easy to live in one house with four other people.

When do you feel like yelling or hitting?

So when _____ happens you feel you have a right to _______

If that’s true, then we can’t, in good conscience, let you visit with your friends as long as you think it’s ok to do that.

Show us you can make a different choice for 2 / 3 weeks.

We need to practice in the family.

For these first 2 you’re a team.

For this one, everyone’s on their own … for now.

Anyone who tattles goes back to zero.

If we happen to hear or see any of this stuff we talked about, you go back to zero.

We don’t really want this job, so we’re not going to work very hard to be good at it. So we’ll try not to, but we’ll probably get it wrong sometimes, like who did what to who. And if something unexpected happens, we might decide to just put everyone back to zero, or not, we don’t know.

•    Follow orthodontist’s orders.
•    Clean pet cages regularly
•    Practice personal hygiene – shower/bath, brushing

We appreciate so much what you’re already doing, we have confidence that you all have what it takes to do this next part too.

We are ready to say yes to these things as soon as you show us you can handle them.

The clock begins after the FAMILY MOVIE WITH POPCORN IN THE LIVING ROOM!!!!!!

Along the way we asked for questions, thoughts, more ideas and examples, etc. Now, it didn’t go totally smoothly. There were interruptions, distractions, people getting up from the table, and plenty of commentary (wish I had a tape recorder for some of it). But considering what they were hearing, we got through it with flying colors, and they’ve been giving each other reminders that indicate they heard every word we said.

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

One Comment on “The talk”

  1. […] say some things and you tell me if these are respectful or not (Totally ripped this one off of Flockmother!!! Thank you very […]

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