I was talking to the spouse of a patient the other night, learning about their lives together, their marriage, how they’ve raised their children, what brought them to our state, etc. I swear, sometimes I feel like a “Criminal Minds” profiler, with all of the questions I ask patients and family members! But I do think, especially with patients having confusion, knowing something more personal about them can help. It can help with establishing/re-establishing rapport, can calm the patient, and give them something different (and more positive) to focus on. So, yep, I ask away.
Anyway, this lady and I were talking, and she said that they’d raised 6 children together. As we continued to talk, she said that she and her husband had a special way of dealing with their children’s squabbles. The children could yell at each other and (verbally) fight; but they would have to argue using Sesame Street voices. Imagine; fighting with your sibling over the computer as Bert and Ernie. Drawing swords over the last Eggo as Cookie Monster. Bathroom wars as Big Bird and Elmo. I asked her how bad their kids’ fights would get, or how long they would last; she laughed and said not long. Usually, all kids involved would be laughing within minutes.
I think this is brilliant! With all the difficulties and stressors of parenting, these two came up with such a creative and ingenious way to settle fights amongst the kids, and get them to the point where they could actually communicate with each other, and compromise, without anger. I think that this same tactic should be used in the adult world! Imagine debating politics, or arguing over a parking spot, as Kermit the frog and Miss. Piggy!
I am considering doing something similar in my own life. However, since I totally can NOT do any muppet voices, I’ll take it to an adult level, and throw random quotes from “Airplane”, Monty Python, or “Princess Bride” at you. Surely it will get the point across (and don’t call me Shirley). So if I approach you declaring myself to be Inigo Montoya, you know I’m cheesed off at you! Until then, “I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries…”