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Thursday, September 27, 2007

teaching consequences

"Theeth you finem evryvay
on mountaintops an inna a..."


"vun kicket jumpinina thicket..."


"Cleo wakes
Cleo winks..."


So fall the board books I had just stacked on the coffee table a few moments ago, finding them all over the floor and sofa earlier. I try to explain to Ana that books should not be strewn about and should be neatly arranged, and entice her to help me pick them up.

She pretends to help, then asks me to go away so she can "read" in peace.

Except, she reads a few arbitrary lines and dashes the book to the ground again!

"Ana! Pick up the book please!" gets a vehement "No!"

So, in keeping with D and my philosophy of teaching consequences, I remind her, "Do you want to go to your room?" which she apparently understands as not a particularly attractive prospect, so, pipes in sweetly, "Noaaa... amma", and I follow up with, "Well, pick up the books then and put them away, please."

Constantly pushing the limits, Ana runs off behind the sofa without picking up the book. So, I follow her, pick her up and tell her that if she does not pick the book up, she has to go to her room. After one whole minute, she simply does not budge, so, I hold her hand, walk her to her room, tell her she has to stay in the room till I count to 10 as she did not pick up her book, and I close the door.

Glass-shattering scream fortunately tells me she is not happy with this. So, after counting to 10, I bring her out and ask her if she wants to pick up her books. And she does it without protest. I hug her and tell her that was sweet and that she should take care of her books and not throw them hereafter. She pretends to understand and goes off to play with her dolls.

"fortunately" because, if she *likes* going to her room and enjoys being left there, it would defeat our purpose of attaching undesirable consequence to an undesirable action :)

Another time, D gave her some juice as usual... Generally, we have asked her to leave the used cups on the dining table or on the kitchen counter. She obliges. Sometimes, she even surprises me by opening the dishwasher door and dropping the cup in there unceremoniously. Well, it is the thought that counts... so that's okay :)

But, needing to test the limits again, Ana throws the cup on the floor when she is done with the drink; and when D in an even tone reminds her, "We don't throw cups on the floor Ana, pick it up please", she emphatically says, "NO, appa!" and tries to run off behind the sofa again.

D picks her up, gives her one more chance, and then, tells her she has to stand in the corner until she is ready to pick up and put her cup away. She protests, but, he picks her up and puts her in the only safe corner we have by the shoe closet.

She stands there for a few seconds and then when I remind her, "Ana could you please pick up the cup and put it for wash now?" she promptly picks it up and runs to the kitchen and throws it into the kitchen sink like a basketball shot!

All this happened several months ago. Similar events have been happening on and off since she turned two, when we decided consciously that we need to teach her that her actions have consequences.

Punishment sounds cruel and deliberately hurtful. So, we just try to show her that undesirable actions have undesirable consequences. Nothing harsh. But, something probably not enjoyable. Simple. Right?!

And, usually, one "stand in the corner" or "go to your room" per undesirable action is all she needs to confirm that limits are set and rigid as far as that goes:)

At least now it is working as intended. When we started the "stand in the corner" consequence, having only the shoe closet corner safe where we can keep an eye on her, it seemed futile when she would simply bend down or reach over, pick out one of my shoes and try them on while singing to herself, all the while dutifully staying close to the corner as instructed, but visibly enjoying herself!

Fortunately, it only takes her once, or twice at the most, to test the limits of a particular action. Once she understands that a certain action/behavior of hers is not acceptable and we establish it with "That's not OK, Ana. We don't do that because..." logic, she seems satisfied, and ready to put that knowledge to practice.

So much so that, when I try to pick out the knots in her hair when she doesn't want me to, she confidently states, "Amma, that hurts! that's not OK, don't pull knots in my hair!" Naturally, I leave her alone, not wanting to find out if she follows it with, "Want to go to your room, Amma?"

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At 1:22 AM, Blogger Poppins said...

I'm at that point where this is all going to be darn useful to me. It's good to hear that Ana's finally moved from the stage where Timeouts was fun to where Timeouts=Discipline. Poppin is still enjoying her timeouts !


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