Monday, 15 August 2011

Win-Win

Giving a child good discipline is work.  You have to dream up the appropriate consequences.  You have to give the long-winded lecture aimed at driving the message home.  You need to make sure to enforce those consequences and very often this means that you are the one to suffer.  I hate having to discipline my kids but not disciplining them is much more work because then they'd be impossible to live with.

With Frick's ADHD this often means that he is experiencing discipline for the same offense over and over again.  He has this difficulty with applying past experience to present situations.  He spent the entire ages of five and six washing his crayon markings off the walls and furniture.  And I had to stand there and make sure he did it.  I was going crazy with it, even taking away all of his crayons at times (but then he'd get his hands on pens which is even harder or impossible to wash off).  This is just an example of a typical disciplinary situation amongst hundreds.  It's extra frustrating knowing it takes ten times longer than normal to correct negative behaviour and it only ever feels completely futile when you're living it.

Lucky for me things are finally looking up!  I cannot tell you how happy I am.  Frick is now ten and he is old enough to start doing useful stuff around the house and I can use that to my personal advantage while disciplining him in the most pain free (for me) way.

Up until now I have had to go hunting for my dishes.  I would have washed all the dishes in the kitchen only to find that half of them were still missing.  By the time I find them, they've been gone without my knowledge for so long they have cultivated penicillin.  He has this inability to bring his dishes to the kitchen when he's done with them and he somehow manages to eat all over the house.  I tried getting him to clean up the nastiest dishes but then he was getting the idea that as long as he washed his own dishes he could leave them stinking and attracting vermin wherever he liked.  Given that we are simultaneously dealing with meal-moths, ants, fruit flies and mice this is not exactly working for me.

One day I woke up to my messy house and was fed up with how my life seemed like a constant drudge of picking up after people who never pick up after themselves.  I told Frick that because he left his dishes lying around he would have to do a whole load of dishes, not just his own.  And just like that, I didn't have to wash my dishes that morning.  It was awesome.

"That's right, Mister.  From now on when you leave your dishes lying around you're gonna have to wash all the dirty dishes.  And that's final!"

So now, he has sufficient incentive to bring his dishes to the kitchen.  If he does, then I don't have to go all over the house for my plates and if he doesn't then I don't have to wash dishes at all.  Win-win. The best part is that just like with the crayons it's going to be a long time before he gets it.  If I'm lucky, maybe a couple of years.

These days I no longer wash dishes.  I just let them sit until Frick leaves his plate in the living room.  He complains that I should help him and remind him about his plate but then, why would I do that?

No comments:

Post a comment