While I Was Teaching Him to Glue Stickers He Was Learning What’s Important

I didn’t post anything yesterday because I was  upset  with myself.  I yelled at my son.  The reason? . There is never a reason to yell.  There are circumstances.  But they are of my creation, not Robert’s.

Sixteen  years ago  I used  extinction and redirection to deal with Robert’s excessive behaviors: bumping into furniture, opening and shutting doors multiple times while aiming for the greatest impact, screaming, kicking, and more.   Whenever I wanted to stop the behavior I pretended not to notice it.  Instead I was waving a toddler level workbook and telling Robert that we have to work. (Well, in the beginning I was carrying Robert to the table). I  found those  workbooks in Toys R Us and bought the whole series.   Three whole series.  Maybe fifteen or eighteen workbooks all together.  I had to.  There were many tantrums to extinct and redirect.  These workbooks were  very suitable. They didn’t make the same impact when they hit the floor as pegs or puzzles did when Robert threw them off the table.  So he didn’t see any point in throwing them.  They were pleasing and simple.  The tasks were reduced to matching stickers or connecting objects.    After a while Robert didn’t protest when I called him to the table by always using the the same phrase, “Work, work, work”.   I believe that he too found this routine calming.

One day it was I who had a tantrum.  I don’t remember circumstances.  I remember that I felt utterly unhappy and so in loud rumblings and grumblings kept accusing the whole world of wrongdoing.  Robert, little peanut, became alerted  and extremely concerned.  No, he didn’t scream  or cry.  He ran to the table, grabbed the toddler’s workbook and ran toward me holding the workbook in extended arms.  “Ork, ork, ork”, he kept repeating fervently as he handed me the workbook.

He still couldn’t pronounce the word  “work” but he already knew that extinction and redirection were the best ways to deal with bad behavior.

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1 Comment

  1. As Simple as That | krymarh

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