Monday, October 12, 2009

Testing Boundaries

While Owen is generally a very well behaved kid, he is rapidly approaching 4 years old and occasionally tests his boundaries. When he is tired or bored, Owen tends to develop selective hearing. In such instances, we give Owen an opportunity to correct his behavior and inform him that he will receive a time out if he does not behave. When he complies, he is praised for his choice. At the completion of a time out, we help him apologize for the specific issue (e.g., not listening, name calling, hitting, etc.) and reassure him that we love him.

During the past couple of months, Clara has decided that she should throw her honey bear or straw cup onto the floor after every single drink. Even though the dog has been pelted many times by the flying cup, he remains loyal in his spot waiting for scraps from the toddler learning to self feed. We have been trying a combination of verbal reinforcement (i.e., speaking and signing "no") while helping Clara to guide the cup back to her tray after a drink. When she returns the cup to her tray unassisted she receives vociferous praise; however, the cup still goes to the floor 99% of the time. She would do the same with plates or bowls if set them in front of her. While I think that we are using the correct approach with the cup-throwing discipline, I am concerned that disciplining Clara, especially during these early years, is going to be a challenge.

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