Maria was growing weary of her daughter's Monday morning routine: Fifth-grade Molly's typical condition was some manufactured illness. Young Molly played and busied herself through the weekend, often talking to friends into the wee hours so much that she was always exhausted by Monday morning and regularly too 'sick' to get up for school. Of course, by Monday afternoon, she always recovered miraculously.
Mom decided to experiment with a strategic training session in which the family could predict a misbehavior and set up a plan to handle it. She got together with Dad and one of her friends. By Monday morning, she was hoping that Molly would be too 'sick' to get up for school.
Sure enough, Molly moaned and made noises that she'd practiced until they were Oscar material. Instead of arguing or fighting with her blessed daughter, Maria just said, "Oh, sometimes I don't feel very good when I go all weekend without enough rest. Are you sure you're really too sick for school?"
Molly was offended. "Yes, I AM too sick to go to school."
Mom and the family enacted the rest of the plan: Monday evening, Mom's friend showed up after dinner. Upon her arrival, Mom, Dad and Molly's siblings put on their coats. Molly's eyes got really big…and watery…when she realized that they were all going to see a movie…without her! Of course, she pleaded and protested about how "not fair" it was.
With all the empathy Mom could muster, she said, "We take kids places when they are well enough to go to school."
Molly grumbled to Mom's friend much of the evening, but she did mention that she was going to school the next day "no matter how awful she felt".
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