Imagine a pond. A pond is in balance. The system is in balance. There is water, air, sunshine, and numerous nutrients. There are a few big fish in the pond. There are enough little fish for the big fish to eat. There are enough insects and other bugs for the little fish to eat, and there are even enough insects and bugs for a nice population of frogs to coexist in the pond too. There is enough vegetation both in the pond and around the pond for the insects and other bugs to sustain their own population. Everything is in balance -- the system is in balance. Imagine then, if suddenly another large fish drops into the pond unexpectedly. The other large fish now find that there is greater competition to eat the little fish. As a result, there are fewer little fish. With fewer little fish for the frogs to compete against, the frogs grow fat eating the insects and bugs. They grow fat and they propagate themselves -- soon there is a frog population explosion! The system is in balance, again. Eventually, since there are fewer little fish for them to eat, over time the population of big fish goes down since it cannot be sustained. The system is in balance, once again! Then, since there are not so many big fish to eat the little fish, the little fish are able to survive and the little fish population grows again; and begins to compete with the frogs again for the bugs and the insects, causing a reduction in the frog population eventually... and so on, and so on. And the moral of the story? Your family is like a pond!
Okay, before dinner, you decide what to do. We're going to eat at six o'clock and you have a lot to do. Just make sure you do everything you're supposed to do before dinnertime. You can
a) do your chores first, do your homework next, practice your piano and then play video games, orb) do your homework first, practice your piano, do your chores next, and then go out to play with your friends, orc) finish your piano practice and do your chores, do your homework next, and then watch TV, ord) make sure you finish your chores, your homework, and do your piano practice before you go play around.
Any of these choices are okay for me. You just need to take care of your responsibilities before you start to fool around. So, what do you want to do?
I choose e) to watch some TV first, then go out and play with my friends, and then to play video games!
Hey!! That wasn't one of the choices! You’re not going to get to go out this weekend.
Whaat!? That's not fair!
f) choose from options "a", "b", "c", or "d". Your option "e" is unacceptable. Choose from options "a", "b", "c", or "d" or be grounded for this week and the weekend as well (or some other appropriate negative consequence).
Mom, a single mother came home after work and finds her 14-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son sitting quietly in the living room and reading books. Something is clearly wrong! Watching TV, in an argument, playing video games, listening to very loud music, and so forth would be normal. Doing what they are supposed to be doing -- that's not normal! She asked, "What's up?" "Nothing," says one. "Nuthin’,” says the other. Fortunately, they haven’t learned how to be good liars yet. Mom looked around. Everything looks OK. She walked toward the kitchen. There's a funny smell. It's coming from the kitchen -- it's a burnt smell. Something had been burning. She asked Matt and Annabel what happened. "Nothing," says one. "Nuthin’,” says the other. Mom isn't that stupid! It took a bit of time, but more gradually came out.First, Annabel lied saying she dropped some egg on the stove and it burned while she was cooking. When Mom asked Matt, if that was what had happened, Matt with a quick wide-eyed look at Annabel before answered, "Yes." Matt really doesn't know how to lie well! Taking a cue from NYPD Blue and Crime and Punishment (her favorite shows!), Mom worked on the weaker link. Eventually, Matt fessed up -- Annabel had been playing around with the houseplants. She had taken leaves and burnt them on the stovetop. She had threatened him to get him to stay quiet. However, under pressure from Mom and with the golden opportunity to get Annabel into big trouble, Matt sang like a canary. Confronted with the damning testimony of her alibi, Annabel confessed. The evidence was in. Now what?
a mother in ongoing conflict and distress over the behavior of her 17-year-old son in therapy with a sullen 5'11" 220 lb. young man with a sweatshirt hood pulled as far over his face as possible