Whining, Hitting and Talking Back

Areas of Expertise for the Curtis Household Children

I imagine it is a common occurrence for people who get to spend more time with their children to start to see how damaging their behaviour can be. Hearing Lucy answer back once or twice isn’t a big deal, but when you hear it all day long for several days in a row you realise you have a problem.
So I did what any geek parent would do and went to Amazon.com and browsed the titles on Parenting. I found several books that I liked, nearly all of which were available second hand and cheap. (Aside: I never understood why more people don’t buy second hand from Amazon.com or alibris.com – do the words have less impact when the ink gets old?)
The first title I read was “How to Behave So Your Children Will, Too!” As much as I puked at the title, I liked the reviews it received and the approach it took. The first areas we chose to target are:
  1. Lucy taking direction without packing her bags and planning her escape from home.
  2. Otto dealing with issues without turning on his masterful whining at the perfect adult-annoyance pitch.
  3. Otto expressing frustration with words rather than through the exercise of his considerable hitting ability.
  4. Lucy and Otto playing well together instead of starting WWE Friday Night Smackdown in the yard.
The first observation we made is how much we have not rewarded good behaviour. The kids will play together well for half an hour, then when they yell I’ll go out and investigate. Even the Navy Seals use positive feedback in their training. (“It pays to be a winner” is their equivalent.) So we’re working hard at catching them doing any of the above four things well and making them feel good about that.

3 Responses to “Whining, Hitting and Talking Back”

  1. May 25, 2008 at 23:50

    Speaking as someone who’s 4 year-old spit food in his face today while at Disneyland, the ‘happiest place on earth’, I can sympathize with your challenges. Good point on rewarding positive behavior.

  2. May 27, 2008 at 21:43

    Wow! That’s a fair insult and a huge amount of stress for you. I doubt I would have handled myself well in that situation.

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