Subject: Letter from the Bear Family - Fourth Response
Dear Grown-Up Cub and Hubby (Parents of Young Cub):
For a while, you have been practicing how to listen and talk with each other. So how is the SEE-SAW working? Are you getting better at listening to each other and learning about each other? Have you quietly discussed the problem you face with Young Cub? Have you truthfully told each other how you feel when Young Cub plays one of you against the other?
If you answered YES, then it is time to take the next step toward improving the harmony in your family. The three of you (mother, father, and daughter) are going to embark on an adventure of a life time into the land of Harmony Keys.
STEP ONE, A VERBAL AGREEMENT BETWEEN PARENTS: As the parents, you will make a verbal agreement to act in unison with Young Cub. In this agreement, you will promise each other that you will make all decisions together with regard to Young Cub. There must be immediate cessation of your daughter playing one of you against the other. Respond to Young Cub as follows: “We will discuss it.” “Your mother and I will talk about it and let you know.” “Your father and I will discuss it.” This step is essential to a calm household. Starting now will preserve everyone’s sanity.
STEP TWO, A WRITTEN CONTRACT WITH YOUNG CUB: When you have learned to act as “one” with respect to Young Cub, it will be time to write a contract with her. Included in the contract will be expectations (behavior at home, chores, behavior at school, homework, etc.) Spell out concrete details - avoid generalities. Make it clear that when Young Cub meets the terms of the contract she will be rewarded. Positive reinforcement of good behavior (meeting the contract) is all that is needed. There should be no mention of punishment. When she messes up, Young Cub becomes part of the solution. It time to talk and time for Young Cub to understand what went wrong and how she plans to improve.
Here we go again. Listening is the key ... listening, talking it over, and reassuring Young Cub that her parents love her. Only when we engage in supportive times of listening do we build and strengthen the deepest ties that humans can have.
Dr. Joan’s Harmony Key: Each time I listen to another, a listening star is born to shimmer forever in the sky.