~Help for the frazzled mom!
I had encouraging results with this method with one of our sons. My third son Bryce ~bless his little heart~ was born with the look of mischievousness in his eyes. Well, I have to say, it wasn't just in his eyes! When he was about two years old, in the time span of one day, he took out a cube of butter and smeared it all over our mini blinds, wall, and carpeted stairs, spilled fingernail polish on a cedar chest covered with tapestry, tore off the wallpaper in the bathroom, took out a dozen eggs from the fridge and broke them one at a time on the floor. Where was I you ask while he was doing all this? I was cleaning up the previous mess as fast as I could! He was a busy little bee, no doubt. I was a very busy young mother trying to keep up with his antics. This was during our medical residency and so I was also basically a single mother as well. Since this was becoming nearly a daily event, I knew I needed some kind of plan to help change the direction things were going. I had heard the story of a mother who had three sons that were constantly into things and causing trouble as little boys tend to do. Not thinking anything of it, she started to refer to them as her "little con men". Whenever she would introduce them to anyone, she would introduce them as her little con men. Since whatever is fed will grow, their behavior didn't improve much, and as expected it went dramatically the other direction. By the time they were adults all three (now as men) were incarcerated. They had literally become her little (and now big) con men.
This story really affected me and so I decided I was going to ignore Bryce's misbehavior, by simply correcting him matter of factly, but not focusing a lot of attention on it. I decided to try a little bit of reverse psychology and see if it made a difference. Instead of calling him our mischievous one, which we tended to do at times, Dave and I started to call him "Angel". He knew what an angel was and almost immediately we started to see less and less of the unacceptable antics and more and more of the good behavior. The results were dramatic. He has literally become an angel to our family and is always trying to do what's right and what he thinks would please us as parents. To this day he is still our "Angel". As he got older and "cooler" we shortened the nickname to "Ainge". He still gets that look of mischievousness in his eyes at times and always will, I am sure, but I have no doubt by us focusing on what we wanted him to be, that is what he became. Our children will live up to the expectations we have set for them, so lets be really careful the message we are sending them is a positive one. Below, I have included a few of the photos I had the presence of mind to take during this time. Stay tune for more next Wednesday and as Dr. Latham used to say...
This is to show that look of mischief on that cute little face of his. Bryce, Sky, and Tyson. Easter 1993.
Sneaking and hiding in the pantry...a daily event. He was always eating something chocolate. Hmm...wonder where he got that from?
"Oops! Am I in trouble???" This is from the cube of butter he finger painted everywhere. Too bad you can't see the mini blinds better because each and every slat was covered!
"Hey Mom, look what I made!"One of the many times with a dozen eggs. This time the TV remote is mixed in there too!
"Oh, wasn't I supposed to eat this?" He took a donut from the kitchen and went in his hide away to eat it.
"If I eat them real fast, no one will ever know!"
He snuck this box of donuts out of the kitchen and went to his little spot to eat them.
"No one will find me in here!"This time hiding in the fridge (with his bro's shoes & Ninja Turtles of course!)
"What? I was supposed to eat the Spaghettios too?"
He dunked his face in the bowl of Spaghettios just for... ya know... fun.
Okay...now THAT is the face of an Angel!
I sure do love this little guy...BIG guy now!