Role models. Like it or not.

“Sometimes my sisters can’t hold in their stress, just like I can’t hold in my pee.” – Charlotte, age 7

We hadn’t heard Fenner scream at Charlotte—I mean really scream—in a long time. It’s been several months at least. But last night it happened. Charlotte was pestering Fenner and she totally lost it. Jerry and I were in the next room and we heard the scream and what sounded like some sort of physical contact.

Jerry’s whole body tensed up.

Me: “Honey, it’s ok. It’s normal, they can handle it.”

Jerry: “I don’t like Fenner using violence against Charlotte!”

Me: “Hey, do you remember what it used to be like?”

Jerry: (pause) “Actually, no. I really can’t remember.”

Me: “That used to happen every day. Every day. That’s why I did Vicki’s program. They have come so far. Charlotte tries to get Fenner mad, and it’s not easy for a little kid to have self control all the time. But she has gotten so much better. So if you say anything to Fenner, that’s what you should say—that she has come so far.”

Just then the girls called for us to say goodnight and we headed upstairs. Afterward Jerry and I chatted a bit more and he said, “I kept it positive with Fenner, and she said something upstairs that really made me think. She said, ‘Yeah, I have a thing where I lose my temper like that sometimes. You and I both have that, Daddy.’”

Ouch, it’s true. Monkey see, monkey do.

Explore posts in the same categories: Weeks following: Miscellaneous

5 Comments on “Role models. Like it or not.”

  1. sblanck Says:

    So true. Like it or not we’re watched and imitated – and we forget about the bad stuff that we do – only the bad stuff they do.

    • flockmother Says:

      Yes, and it can be so hard to admit it to yourself when they pick up bad behavior that way. To see your own flaws mirrored back in your kids is scary stuff! I was impressed that Jerry was able to hear that and take it in.

  2. breathebeast Says:

    Wow, so impressed with the conversations you’re having with Jerry, and the girls with him. Sounds so incredibly…respectful, and honest. nice to hear the perspective, past and present, too.

  3. KBrown Says:

    I love your blog. I was with Jerry at Vicki’s last retreat. He’s a great guy. You are a lucky girl.

    Can you go deeper into how you’ve changed Fenner’s reaction? We too have a family value of being kind. Of course we try to model being kind. And when we see kindness I encourage that behavior. Have you done something with your family values that is more in your daily lives? (chapter 5 of POT) thanks again for the great posts!

    • flockmother Says:

      Thank you! Good question. First of all, Vicki gave me the tools to change my own behavior, so I don’t lose my cool like I used to. I’m a much more calm parent. Secondly, I stopped interfering in their conflicts, so they stopped being rewarded with attention from mom (starve the weed!). And last, I gave Fenner the encouragement to change her habits: https://flockmother.wordpress.com/2009/05/31/the-talk/ Lately, the motivating privilege for her has been email. Email is about interacting with people, so she knows she has to show me she can treat people with respect (including her sisters) in order to keep her email privilege. It’s been very effective. Does that help?


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