Symptom Prescription

This awesome psychological-intervention-turned-parenting-technque comes to us from Christine over at Welcome to my Brain:

My latest magic bullet in parenting (and it's GENIUS with the five-year-old) is prescribing behaviors that you would like to stop. For instance, "Honey, I am going to ask you to get ready for bed right now. It's one hour earlier than normal, and this is happening because of your behavior during the game earlier. I know this makes you very unhappy, so I would like you to throw a really big fit. I want to hear screaming and yelling. Maybe even kick your legs on your bed. Now, head on off to your room and make it a good one!"

Now, sometimes she just rolls her eyes and heads on out. Sometimes she actually throws the fit ... at which point I occasionally walk by and say, "Darn, I really thought you could give me a better fit than that. You're losing your touch." If she is grunting in anger when I correct, I say something like, "Wow! I didn't know we had elephants in our house! Now, do a monkey!" It completely takes away the power from the fit (or the grunting, or whatever) when you encourage it, or many times it brings laughter.

With the older kids, it almost always has them trying really hard not to smile. "I'm correcting you right now, and I want you to make a really, really angry face - make it good - scrunched up nose, glaring eyes - the whole bit! Ready? Here we go!" They have this wonderful combination of holding back a smile and rolling their eyes. ha!

As with most of my Mommy Toolbox, they will start to say things like, "Oh no, guys. Here she goes again!"

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