Father: What did you do, Charlie?
Charlie: I was building a city with blocks and she came in and kicked it down —
F: We'll talk about that soon enough. But we can't get anywhere until —
C: I didn't want to play with her right then. She doesn't have a right to —
F: What. Did. You. Do?
C: I hit her.
F: Let's be a little more specific.
C: In the head. With a block. This block.
F: And what was the result of your action?
C: She cried, and Mom told you, and now I'm in so much trouble.
F: Not the result to you. The result to her head, when the block hit it.
C: A goose egg.
F: Any bleeding? Was she knocked unconscious?
F: So it could have been worse.
C: (brightening) That's right.
F: Did you plan your blow so that it would be exactly hard enough to raise a goose egg but not break the skin or knock her unconscious?
C: I didn't have a plan.
F: So it's not actually your fault that it wasn't worse. It could have been, and you had no way of knowing in advance how bad it would be.
C: You're not going to punish me for what didn't happen but might have, are you?
F: I want you to face up to what your action could have done, and which you couldn't have prevented once you acted.
C: That's not even fair!
F: If you caused permanent brain damage to your sister, and she lived the rest of her life in a wheelchair, or lost her ability to speak, or her sight, that wouldn't be fair, but it would still be the consequence of your action.
C: But that didn't happen!
F: What did you think would happen when you hit her?
C: I don't know.
F: What did you intend?
C: She just walked through and kicked down everything I'd built!
F: Would hitting her build it all up again?
C: No, but I wanted her never to do it again!
F: So if you caused brain damage so she couldn't ever walk —
C: No! I didn't want to hurt her, I just — I was so angry, she was so mean —
F: You felt anger. So you decided to let that anger have control of your body and do whatever it wanted. Charlie, anger is a stupid monster. It doesn't care how hard it hits. It just lashes out. But afterward, you have to face the consequences of what you let the monster do.
C: So I'm supposed to just let her wreck everything?
F: Are the blocks still here? Is the plan still in your head? Can you make it again? Did she really wreck everything?
C: Do I have to stop what I'm doing whenever she decides?
F: No, you don't.
C: She thinks she owns me.
F: Apparently she does. She has the power to make you hit her. All she has to do is kick down your city.
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