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Monday, November 19, 2012


Every so often, one of our children will holler, "Mom! [???]'s being inappropriate!" "Inappropriate" covers such a broad range of behaviors that really, anything could be happening.

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Typically, the inappropriate child is called in and reprimanded. A time out may be given or some other logical consequence is administered for the behavior. Because the same complaint keeps coming down the pike, I'm pretty sure that none of that's been working.

image: loveandlogic.com
Since I'm working on my Love & Logic responses, here's what went down yesterday.....

As is frequently the case, down the hallway, I hear, "Mom! [???]'s being inappropriate!" And yes, [???] is almost always the same offender. No, I won't even say "almost," always. It is ALWAYS the same offender.

image: hammiesworld.webs.com
As I called [???] in, the wheels in my brain were turning ferociously--I mean, I had that hamster working overtime. What was I going to do that would be a learning opportunity that would make that child not want to have that consequence happen again? What could I require that would make [???]'s hamster work instead of mine?

As I stood there, it clicked. Here's how it went down.....

Me: Hey! I understand you're having some issues with your brother and being inappropriate.
??? (sheepishly): Yeah.
M: I'm noticing that I'm hearing a lot about you being inappropriate lately.
?: Yeah.
M: What are you going to do about that? To be honest, I'm kind of tired of hearing about it.
?: I don't know.... (I let his wheels spin for a few seconds until I realized that was the only answer I was going to get).
M: Well, I have an idea. Do you want to hear it?
? (a little nervously): Okay.
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M: I'm thinking you must have a lot of that built up inside you, that it keeps bubbling over like that, huh?
?: Maybe.
M: Okay, here's the idea. The bathroom is the perfect place for inappropriate things. I'm thinking you should have some time to just get all of the inappropriateness out at one time. You can go in there, close the door, and just do and say everything inappropriate that you want to. Hopefully, that will fill your need and it won't bubble over so much in front of others here. What do you think?
?: I don't really want to.
M: No, but I think you need to unless you can come up with something else.... (again, long pause).
?: (silence)
M: Would you like me to get the light for you? Oh, by the way, there's a mirror in there, so any inappropriate actions you want to do, you can show yourself, okay? Perfect! How much time do you think this is going to take? We'll be happy to set a timer for you?

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A two minute timer is set, [???] goes in, the light is turned on, the door is shut. I hear the shower door open and close, but that's about it.

We had no more inappropriate complaints for the rest of the day.

Later in the evening, I asked [???] what happened in the bathroom. [???] replied, "Nothing." That may be the case, but I'm thinking the message was received. At least, I hope it was. If not, we'll always have a bathroom.

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