|It is All a Matter of Interpretation
To further your understanding of how to put love into action and to give you more practice putting "Beyond Consequences" into action, I've created another Pop Quiz for you. Breathe...this isn't like the pop quizzes you had when you were in school. It won't be graded and you won't get into trouble if you miss the correct answer!
Have fun with this and use it as a tool to liberate yourself from thinking in the old traditional fear-based way:
1. At her older sister's band concert, an 11-year-old begins tapping, wiggling, and making unnecessary noise. Dad puts his finger to his lips to signal his daughter to quiet down but his daughter becomes louder and more defiant.
|This 11-year-old is acting
like a three-year-old. This is completely unacceptable at her age. She
is being self-centered and needs to be taken out of the concert
immediately. Her dad needs to tell her to calm down; that she must sit
outside the band concert until intermission and maybe, just maybe, she
will be allowed to come back in at that time.
|This child is not
supporting or respecting her sister. Her dad needs to pass her a note
telling her this and that if she doesn't straighten up, her consequence
will be to make her sister's bed for the month so she can learn what
support looks like.
|Dad needs to recognize that
the 11-year-old is bored and perhaps overwhelmed, even at this age.
The dad can quietly and gently pull her onto his lap and cuddle with
her. This will help the 11-year-old calm down and will, in turn, create
a sweet daddy/daughter cuddling time as they listen to the music
|This is clearly a
bio-chemical issue. She probably has ADHD and should be evaluated with a
strong emphasis on looking into medications such as Ritalin or
mother is picking up her three children. When the 15-year-old daughter
gets into the car, her three-year-old sister starts whining. The
15-year-old gets aggravated, starts arguing with the three-year-old, and
proceeds to turn up the radio. The music and the arguing gets louder
and louder. Little sister calls her older sister "stupid" and in
return, curse words starting flying out of the teenager's mouth. The
girls’ six-year-old brother stays out of the conflict.
|Mom needs to warn the girls that if the bad words don't stop, they will both get their mouths washed out with soap.
|Mom needs to administer
consequences that have REAL leverage because this is now a safety issue
with mom trying to drive: no TV for the three- year-old and no cell
phone for the 15-year-old for a week.
|This is a "teaching moment"
so Mom needs to take quick and decisive action to lecture her teenager
about being a better example for her younger siblings. They all need to
work together as a team--a family that works together, stays together.
If the teenager doesn't learn this now, by the time she is 18 years old
and out of the house, it will be too late.
|Mom recognizes her own
dysregulation and pulls over because she can't drive safely at this
point. Mom turns off the radio, takes some deep breaths, and lovingly
reminds the kids that when they yell, she can't drive safely. This is a
safety issue and mom makes this very clear. She reminds them all
(including her son who is still regulated but almost forgotten at this
point) that she will take time to be with each of them individually
throughout the afternoon. The teenager needs a voice, so mom listens to
the teenager instead of lecturing her. She begins to understand that
the teen was using the radio to calm herself, not realizing that it was
dysregulating everybody else. Mom suggests the teen listen to her
iPod, giving her the ability tune out her younger siblings on the ride
nine-year-old girl was living with her father because her mother was
dysregulated and unstable most of the time. Her father had to leave for
a three-week overseas business trip so the girl went to stay with her
mother. While on the phone with her father, the girl tells him that she
had tried to kill herself by drowning herself in the bathtub.
|The father is losing
control of this situation and needs to stop his daughter's manipulative
behavior immediately, even from a distance. He needs to apply logic and
love by telling his daughter that the money budgeted for a birthday
present will now have to be spent on getting her psychological help.
|The father recognizes this
as a fear response to his being gone for three weeks. The daughter
doesn't know how else to ask for help because she is scared of
discussing her fear of her mother with her dad. This behavior is a form
of communication. The daughter is also afraid to discuss this with her
mom because her mom and dad do not have a good relationship and her
mother might react negatively. In the daughter's mind, this is the
only way she could ask for help.
|The dad needs to call 911.
The daughter has to be put in a 72-hour locked psychiatric ward
immediately to make sure she doesn't hurt herself.
|The child needs to go live
with a relative who can be there for her 100% of the time. It is
evident that neither the mother nor the father can provide a consistent
and stable home for this child.
|Hopefully, the correct answer to each of these questions was obvious for you. If not, here they are: (1) C
(2) D (3) B
Each of the above examples and their correct answers are true stories. The love-based interpretations and solutions given were all successful and helped each child to move from a state of fear, stress, and overwhelm, into a state of love, safety, and security.
If you enjoyed this "Pop Quiz," send me your examples and I'll continue this series for you!
|Heather T. Forbes, LCSW|
Parent and Author of Beyond Consequences, Logic & Control: Volume 1 & Volume 2, and Dare to Love
P.S. Check out my Ask the Expert Interview with Sherrie Eldridge, as she speaks out adoption, adopted children and how their parents are drawn closer. http://www.asktheexpertinterviews.com