Because the discipline in the children’s previous life was so harsh, it has been quite a challenge to come up with strategies that are motivating to the children.
Loss of toys?
Spoonful of ketchup?
Oh NO! Anything but that!
About two weeks ago Andy appeared to have decided that there was nothing that we would throw at him that he could not handle, and all sorts of mischief ensued. The most startling was persistent and dramatic chewing-with-mouth-wide open. He never used to do this and was now doing it all the time. We would remind him and he would say okay and then do it again the very next bite. It was looking deliberate. Then ketchup occurred to me.
“Andy, would you like a spoonful of ketchup?”
“No, thank you! Ick!”
“Next time I see your food as you chew, I’ll bring you a spoonful.”
(mouth snaps shut for chewing and remains closed)
For Juliana, peanut butter does the same job. I have a friend who uses vinegar.
This morning I saw Andy lift his arm to hit his sister and then stop.
“Andy, what helped you remember to not hit?”
“I don’t want ketchup.”
So, Andy and I were driving in to see my Dad the other day and we were talking about the ketchup and how good it has been at helping Andy remember. He wanted to know if Grandpa knew about the ketchup. Yes. Andy did not like this. He fussed about it quite a bit.
“I’m angry you told Grandpa my secrets.” he said.
“Are you angry that I told him about the ketchup? Or that I told him that you had not-nice behavior?”
“Are you afraid that Grandpa won’t like you if he knows about your not-nice behavior?”
I pull the car over.
“Andy, this is what is so cool about having a family. Families can know all your nice parts and all your not nice parts and still love you. Grandpa knows all my nice parts and all my not nice parts and he still loves me. That’s what families do. It’s really lovely.”
“That’s what Jesus does too. He loves us even though we have nice parts and not nice parts. He’s part of our family.”
“Did you know that families love that way?”
“So Grandpa can know about your good days and about your bad days and he just loves you big time.”
“What do you think?”
“It’s okay to tell Grandpa.”