There are people who would focus on how the boy “should” be punished for not doing the dishes, but the dishes were not really the issue, and punishment only breeds anger. The issue was keeping the relationship healthy and respectful. Tillie may have spent five minutes doing dishes, but she saved an hour not driving across town to the theatre, and then later doing the trip a second time to pick him up. Tillie knew she couldn’t control the boy and force him to stay in the house without breeding resentment, so she limited her response only to what she would do, because that is what she could control. The relationship was far more important than the situation, and Tillie knew this.
When you stop using “you should” and replace it with “I will” or “I prefer” you will find that others are more responsive to you. You may also want to add the word “but” to your thinking. For example “I would like you to clean your room but I can’t control you. I have a choice to close the door instead.” “I wish Mary would pay the bills on time, but that’s her business and isn’t my problem.”



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