The Kids Book About Family Fighting. By Family Fighting Expert 2009 Erik Johnson

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1 The Kids Book About Family Fighting By Family Fighting Expert 2009 Erik Johnson 1

2 When a family experiences stress or anxiety they cope by taking on roles to avoid or deflect pain. People put on different roles for different situations. A person can play two or more roles at once. And the roles balance a family like a child s mobile. In most family fights there are three people. The Bully He or she is the bad guy, the bugger, the mean one who starts everything. Snidely Whiplash The Victim He or she is the innocent one, the one who is bugged, the one who needs and expects rescuing, feels blamed for everything. Nell Fenwick The Hero He or she is the helpful one, the one who catches the bad guy, the one who rescues the innocent one. Dudley Do Right of the Mounties Does the following story sound familiar? 2

3 This is me, the older sister. In our family I am like Nell, the innocent victim who gets picked on all the time. This is my pesky little brother. He gets away with everything! He pesters me constantly. I ask him to stop and he won t. He bugs me on purpose and it drives me crazy. He s like Snidely Whiplash! This is my mother. It s her job to protect the innocent and punish the guilty. She s like Dudley Do Right. But guess what? She does nothing! So to protect myself, I take matters into my own hands and become Dudley Do Right! When I try to make my brother stop bugging me he cries and tattles on me. He pretends he is poor, little, innocent Nell! My mom hates it when he whines. To get me to stop bugging him she gets mean and comes after me with consequences and punishment. She s like Snidely Whiplash! Now I m really angry! I was just trying to protect myself and I get in trouble. I wish I was an only child!! I m Nell again now with no Dudley Do Right and two Snidely Whiplashes! That s not the end of the story. 3

4 This is me, the younger brother. In our family I am like Nell, just trying to get a little respect around here. This is my older sister. She gets away with everything, has more privileges, and won t let me play with her. She teases me and when I ask her to stop she won t. She bugs me on purpose and it drives me crazy. She s like Snidely Whiplash! This is my mother. It s her job to protect the innocent and punish the guilty. She s like Dudley Do Right. But guess what? She does nothing! To protect myself I take matters into my own hands and become Dudley Do Right! When I try to make my sister stop bugging me she reacts and tattles on me. She pretends she is poor, little, innocent Nell! My mom hates it when she whines. To get me to stop bugging her she comes after me with consequences and punishment. She s mean like Snidely Whiplash! Now I m really angry! I was just trying to protect myself and I get in trouble. I wish I was an only child!! I m Nell again now with no Dudley Do Right and two Snidely Whiplashes! I ll admit I like it when my sister gets in trouble. Watching them fight is better than TV! But that s not the end of the story. 4

5 This is me, the mother. In our family I am like Nell. I work my fingers to the bone to keep this family on track! I shop, cook, clean, run errands, plan parties, schedule appointments, and what thanks do I get? None! The kids fighting drives me crazy! I don t get a minute s rest. All I want is peace and quiet. This is my daughter. She s older and should know how to be nice to her brother. Instead she s a bully and a tease. She s mean like Snidely Whiplash! This is my son. Sometimes he goes too far with his antics. All I ask is that he have a little more patience. I keep waiting for them to grow up, but guess what? They do nothing! It s like having TWO Snidely Whiplashes in the house! My daughter thinks she s the victim, Nell. My son thinks he s the victim, Nell. I think I m the victim, Nell. I ignore them as long as possible but they push my buttons. Then I fly into action like Dudley Do Right and send both of them to their rooms. 5

6 Lessons You know you re being a Nell when you feel defensive, passive, afraid, and vulnerable. you say things like, I m helpless against bullies, Somebody save me! Snidely is trying to hurt me! I know what others are thinking! To get out of the Nell role... Don t wait for others to rescue you. Stop reacting to people you think are bullying you. Have self control Stop whining Set healthy boundaries. Everybody feels like Nell at some point. 6

7 Nobody admits to being Snidely Whiplash. You know you re a Snidely Whiplash when you Feel angry, critical, blaming, sarcastic, touchy, and bossy. Stuff your feelings of pain. Accuse others of breaking rules. Say things like, There s only one way to do things, MY WAY! Don t understand other s feelings very well. Think finding fault in others is being helpful. To get out of the Snidely Whiplash role Identify what you re feeling Learn to say calmly, I m feeling ( sad, hurt, criticized, angry, neglected, ignored, at risk). Give grace to yourself and others. Develop empathy, What are you feeling right now? Stop trying to fix, advise, or correct others. 7

8 Everybody thinks they re being Dudley Do Right! You know you re in the Dudley Do Right role when you Feel worried, tired, pitying, responsible for everyone Are drawn to needy or wounded people (victims like Nell!) Give lots of unsolicited advice. Don t believe others can function without you. Want to be needed. Say things like, If I m not rescuing someone I m not a good person. To get out of the Hero role. Don t expect others to be dependent on you Stop giving unsolicited advice Let bullies and victims work out their conflicts on their own. Be available as coach but don t let victims draw you into their dependency. Remember bullies may not mean to be bullies but are feeling vulnerable and weak. 8

9 The victim The hero The bully 9

10

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