Scenario: Chloe just grabbed a book right out of her brother’s hands. Chloe’s dad saw her take the book and told Chloe to give it back. Chloe starts to melt down.
WHAT TO NOTICE IN THIS SCRIPT:
- Chloe’s dad did not engage too much with Chloe when she was in Yuck.
- He did not defend himself. For example, when Chloe said, “Why are you always so mean to me?” he didn’t explain to her all of the reasons that he’s REALLY not mean to her because he knew that Chloe wasn’t rational at that moment, and that would only make things worse.
- He did not try to calm her down. He let her get out her big feelings.
- Instead, he focused on staying calm himself.
Dad: Chloe, we don’t just take things from other people!
Chloe: It’s my book!
Dad: You’re right, it is. And you can ask him for it.
Chloe: He doesn’t ever give things back when I ask him!
Dad: OK. But there is no reason to take something from someone else.
Chloe (starts yelling): Why are you always so mean to me?
Dad doesn’t defend himself and doesn’t say anything.
Chloe (yelling): Dad, you’re always mad at me!
Dad (speaking calmly): I’m here now, Chloe.
Chloe (yelling): I don’t want you here now!
Dad doesn’t respond. Instead, he focuses on staying in control of himself.
Chloe starts to scream.
Dad stays where he is and doesn’t say anything. He doesn’t look at Chloe directly, but he doesn’t leave her.
Chloe starts to sob after a few minutes.
Dad: Do you want a hug?
Dad: OK. I’m right here.
Chloe doesn’t say anything. She sobs for a few more moments and eventually stops. Then she slowly walks over to her dad and puts her head on his shoulder.
Dad doesn’t say a word now, but makes a note to himself to talk to her later about how she can address her brother more respectfully and handle her Yuck more maturely.
WHY BEING PROACTIVE MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE
This situation would not have gone the same way if Chloe’s dad did not proactively…
- Know how to handle his own Yuck
- Understand that Chloe’s behavior was a symptom of her Yuck (that he can’t effectively argue with)
- Understand how to handle Chloe’s Yuck by letting her follow the Yuck curve
- Deposit into his relationship with Chloe so that he could serve as a “safe” person that helps her calm down instead of making her more upset