Thursday, June 19, 2008

Prescribing the behavior

My latest magic bullet in parenting (and it's GENIUS with the five-year-old) is prescribing behaviors that you would like to stop.

For instance, "I am going to ask you to get ready for bed right now. It's earlier than normal, because you had a hard time playing with everyone nicely during the game earlier. I know this makes you very unhappy, so I would like you to throw a really big fit. I want to hear screaming and yelling. Maybe even kick your legs on your bed. Now, head on off to your room and make it a good one!"

Now, sometimes she just rolls her eyes and heads on out. Sometimes she actually throws the fit ... at which point I occasionally walk by and say, "Darn, I really thought you could give me a better fit than that. You're losing your touch."

It completely takes away the power from the fit (or the grunting, or whatever) when you encourage it, or many times it brings laughter.

With the older kids, it almost always has them trying really hard not to smile. "I'm correcting you right now, and I want you to make a really, really angry face - make it good - scrunched up nose, glaring eyes - the whole bit! Ready? Here we go!" They have this wonderful combination of holding back a smile and rolling their eyes. ha!


Annee said...

I am going to have to try this!!!

Cammie said...

That SOOO makes me laugh!!!

Hillary said...

SOOOO going to try this with my students. I love it. It keeps things light and also gets the desired effect. Hooray!

Paul said...

As a parent and a therapist I can tell you this WORKS when done well. We are finding out that it still works for older/adolescent kids too, just the delivery changes. I'll start a conversation with my teen daughter with, "I know you are going to be mad, and probably huff off to your room and not want to talk to me when I tell you this, but..."