Parenting 101 – Skit 6

Posted by on Dec 21, 2003 in Parenting

Dr. Philip Ney, MD

Negotiating Guidelines and Consequences for Children and Realistic Expectations for Adults

Jake: Mabel, I’ve got a yearning for another one of your wonderful apple pies.
Mabel: Jake, you know I’m not into baking. Why do you keep bugging me about it?
Jake: Well my mother used to make such wonderful apple pies. We had them at least 3 times a week. Just the thought of them brings saliva to my mouth. You tell me you’re not into baking, but actually you do a very good job.
Mabel: Now Jake, flattery may get you everywhere, but I really think this really isn’t as much about pies as it is about sex.
Jake: Mabel you’re right. We’ve really got to talk about it. How about some private negotiating?
Mabel: Well Jake, it couldn’t be any worse than the way it’s going.
Jake: Yeah Mabel. A guy has got to have it. Besides, I understand from that funny old psychiatrist teaching a parenting course, it’s good for women.

Jake: O’k gang, your mother and I want to get together with you to iron out some problems about chores etc. I know you have some beefs too, so speak up. We will make a list.
Johnny: The bed-time – it’s ridiculous. None of the other kids go to bed so early.
Jane: I don’t know why I have to keep doing the dishes.
Mabel: Why can’t kids ever keep their room tidy?
Jake: I have a complaint about the garbage. O’k, that’s a fairly good list to start with. So we are going to have a family meeting. I will be the chairman. We are going to negotiate. You kids all have a say. Oh, and you too Mabel.
Mabel: Jake, don’t put me down in front of the kids.
Jake: Sorry Mabel. You kids have got to respect your mother.
Johnny and Jane: I think we respect her more than you do dad.
Jake: No not really. I shouldn’t tease your mom. I would die for her. It goes the other way too. The good book says that wives are supposed to honour their husbands. I think that means they are supposed to say good things about them.
Mabel: O’k Jake, I got your point. Kids, your dad is a hard working, considerate, loving man, a bit of a rough diamond, but we are working on him.
Jake: O’k, about bedtime. Let’s start with Jane. What do you think is a reasonable time Jane?
Jane: Well dad, now that I am eleven, I figure I should be able to stay up to 12:30 on the week-ends, maybe 11:30 Sunday to Monday.
Mabel: You’ve got to be kidding, when I was your age…
Jake: Now Mabel, settle down. I wouldn’t use your upbringing as a particularly good example. Besides, if kids can learn to negotiate it is going to put them in a position of real advantage out there in the cruel world. O’k Jane, what is your best arguments.
Jane: Well it is about that time I can watch the news, and I have to be up to date. All the other kids are talking about what is going on, besides which, some of the best programs come on about 12. None of the other kids go to bed so early and I really don’t need all that much sleep.
Jake: Not bad Jane. Have you got any more good arguments?
Jane: Well I want to finish my Harry Potter books and if you let me leave the light on I will turn it off and go to sleep when I think I am tired.
Johnny: Dad, she is reading my books.
Jake: O’k kids, settle down. Let’s stick to the subject here. Well I wanted to hear your best arguments. I think you put them pretty well. I don’t necessarily agree with them. Now here are your mom and dad’s best arguments. Mabel?
Mabel: When you go to bed late Jane, you wake up and you are a grouch. You snap at your brother, you are impolite to your parents and the teacher says you are falling asleep at school.
Jake: Yeah, and the research shows that if you don’t sleep you don’t get much growth stimulating hormone and you will turn out to be a shrimp. I think Sunday to Thursday bedtime should be 8 o’clock and weekends could be 10:30.
Jane: Dad that’s ridiculous. I haven’t been to bed so early since I was a little kid. What are you trying to tell me?
Jake: Well we’ve gotta negotiate. How much are you prepared to give?
Jane: All right day, I see your point. Make it 12:00 on weekends and 10:15 on weeknights.
Jake: Now we are making progress. We will go by increments of 15 minutes I guess.
Johnny: Aw dad, you’re a hard bargainer.
Mabel Don’t forget. Your dad has had a lot of practice at this in the union.
Jake: Yeah, the principle is, give yourself lots of room to compromise, but you have got to have good arguments too.

Jake: Good work everybody. We agree, nine-thirty Sunday to Thursday and eleven o’clock Friday and Saturday. Shall we shake? Now we’ve got to remember the fine print. Jane, what do you understand by being in bed?
Jane: Well dad, as far as I am concerned, being in bed is sitting on the bed.
Mabel: No Jane. Being in bed means being in your nightdress, face washed, teeth brushed, light out, horizontal, under the covers.

Jake: Well now we’ve got that settled, we’ve got to think what kind of consequences are going to make the guidelines stick Jane?
Jane: Well dad, I guess if I’m late I should be grounded for 2 weeks.
Jake: Aw, you don’t need to be so hard on yourself Jane. Besides, I don’t want to get into the hassle of keeping you grounded. That just raises another problem.
Mabel: I suggest that every 15 minutes you are late, we wake you up 15 minutes early.
Jane: Aw mom, that’s cruel.
Mabel: You’ve got to learn that the magic consequence for not going to bed on time is that you get tired and that effects everybody.
Jane: But you know how hard it is to wake me up.
Jake: That is only because we haven’t tried a bucket of water yet.
Johnny: Dad! You wouldn’t.
Jake: Mabel, where’s the bucket? I’ll show you.
Jake: Well, now we have an agreement on the consequences, we have to say how long this contract is good for.
Jane: Well you know I am getting older. You can’t expect it to last forever.
Jake; Absolutely right Jane. I say this works for the next year. We will negotiate it again on your birthday.
Jane: It’s a deal.

Mabel: You know Jake this thing is actually working. Maybe that old psychiatrist wasn’t so stupid after all.
Jake: Well let’s praise the Lord. All good things come from Him.
Mabel: Amen.
Jake: Well now we’ve got a bit of quiet time Mabel. Let’s get back to negotiating this thing about the apple pie.
Mabel: You mean sex.
Jake: Yeah Mabel. I mean sex, but I am pretty shy. I don’t like saying the word.
Mabel: Now you have some idea of why it is such a big problem. We can’t even talk about it.
Jake: Yeah Mabel. You are right. You start.
Mabel: Well the problem is….