Friday, October 29, 2010

Peace, Love and Behavioral Modification

Ice skating has also inspired our new behavioral modification plan.  Andrew has been able to chart his progress on the ice by counting how many times he falls down per round (and let me tell you, it's an impressive number!  Also impressive to see.  Will have to post on youtube someday.  Probably when he leads the Australian ice hockey team to victory over the Canadians in the Olympics.  If Australia has a ice hockey team in the Olympics, that is.  And the Canadians come down with typhoid).

Since Andrew is charting improvement by trying to reduce his spills on the ice per round, I decided to try to reduce our whining, crying, yelling, screaming and tearing eachothers' eyes out in the same way.  My screaming.  Everyone elses' whining.  Ryan's pestering.  And yes, they DO try to tear eachother's eyes out.  Casualties from my time spent on the computer yesterday include one bloody nose (Aidan), a damaged toenail (Andrew) and severe gashes to the nose and cheek (again Aidan).  Andrew is starting to lose the advantage of age since the twins seem to fight together.  When they aren't beating the crap out of eachother.  And Matthew obviously needs to work on his temper.  Aidan and Andrew aren't fighters by nature, but Matthew is scary.  As evidenced by the nosebleed, torn toenail and gashes to the head and neck.  All obtained in the two hours I was ignoring the noise around me and telling them to work it out themselves.  Kinda like they do in the German school system.  Works well.   If you want to breed fear into the peace-loving and create a bully. 

Which we don't.  Hence the chart.

It is working well so far today.  I am being fairly lenient, giving out warnings before I strike a point and counting a lengthy bout of whining and fighting as only one point total. 
Results today at 3PM are as follows:
1. Matthew  - 4 points - all for whining
2. Aidan - 3 points - for crying.  All accumulated right around lunchtime
3. Mommy - 1 yell.  Early on in the morning before she caught herself.
Ryan and Andrew have had some yellow cards, warnings, but no points yet. 

The major success of the program seems to be my decreased yelling.  Go figure.  The chart makes me assess the situation, decide what is going on and then react to it rationally instead of just flying into a rage.   I actually gave myself two little gold stars for NOT reacting with screaming when the situation actually could have warranted it.  Turns out stern reminders work as well as threats and swears. Who would have thought it?  Once again it is Mommy receiving the lesson in behavioral modification while trying to teach the kids.  Ain't homeschooling a bitch?!

Our efforts of the last month was truly rewarded around lunchtime today, when Aidan was having a meltdown and Matthew was well on his way to provoking it further.  Just as I was about to separate the two of them myself Aidan turned to Matthew, looked him deep in the eyes and said

"Matthew, Matthew, remember.  We only think and speak words of love."

It's an affirmation from Louise Hay, designed to decrease anger.

It's a confirmation that, charts or not, my basic message is getting past the blood and bruises after all.

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