Teaching Consequences

While 1-2-3 Magic’s worked wonders at times for the Monster’s behavior, there are times – especially as he’s becoming a more willful five year old – that the system isn’t doing much to curb the excesses of his behavior.

We’re finding that he’s getting sent to his room more often these days for not listening when we’re asking him not to do things as much as he’s getting sent for actual misbehaving.  The shrieking has gotten out of hand, even with a suggestion from his OT to try to substitute something else to keep his mouth occupied like a party noisemaker, and yesterday he went so far as to actually hit the wife.

The suggestion was made, last night at the Mothers’ support group over at ARC, to try behavior charting if we can find something appropriate to add in as a reinforcement.

I’ve been a bit wary of moving to that, if only because the Monster’s shown little understanding of consequences to his actions.  He doesn’t seem to process that doing X means that Y is going to happen – threatening to remove a privilege, for instance, doesn’t compute, nor does offering him a bribe for doing what he ought to be doing.  One might argue that the issue is a lack of sufficient reward, but I think we’ve played through the scale of reward items – stickers, toys, food, extra bath time – without finding something that’s sufficiently weighty in his mind that he’s going to comply.  The idea behind charting is certainly a good one and might work if we could get him to understand the concept of repercussions for our actions… but I don’t know how to teach that.

Assuming we can figure out how this would work… Making a board or some such to track the behavior isn’t a huge deal, nor is finding somewhere to put it that he can see it.  I think we might have a difficulty in keeping it up to date with things at camp this summer – the school’s good about giving us an indication of how he behaved in class on each day’s assignment sheet – but we can probably work out a system until the school year starts up again.

But again, the major problem is that he’s really just shown, to date, a lack of understanding that there are consequences to his actions, even when such is demonstrated to him consistently.  That is something I could use a pill for, if someone could whip one up…

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