Antibiotic rage and the discipline arms race

Read an interesting piece today about discipline and kids that exhibit challenging behaviour. It chimed in nicely with thoughts I’ve been having about how easier things are with J-Bone when I’m not already climbing the walls. (More of that in another post soon, I hope.) The gist of the article, if I’ve understood it properly, is that the best way for kids to learn to behave (as with so many other learning situations) is for them to work out for themselves *why* they should behave better.

Many, many naughty steps

The key, according to various pieces of research, is to ask kids why they might be acting up and get them to gradually recognise when it’s happening and how they can manage it. Exactly the kind of thing that adults with behavioural issues are told, that I was told when attending CBT counselling. Treating kids like adults, not in the sense of expecting them to have adult understanding but rather in the sense that they can reach their own conclusions given the opportunity, seems to be vitally important for their healthy development.

The more a parent expects kids to do exactly what they are told, the less you can expect them to take responsibility for how they behave, and the more they are likely to dig their heels in – if only to obey their own instincts to draw a line in the sand to define themselves. I’ve been threatening J-Bone with withdrawing CBeebies ‘privileges’ or food treats for the last couple of months, with some success. But I’ve been aware that it feels a bit like bombarding him with antibiotics; there’s a foreboding that things might escalate in an arm’s race with only the threat of total mutual destruction the only logical conclusion. It would make more sense to try and address the issue.

So, the plan now is to try and discuss any challenging behaviour with J-Bone and ask him why he might be upset. It’ll be a long-term game, and I’ll be sorely tempted to wave some short-term threats about over my head: we’ll have to see how that goes. But I’ve a lot of faith in J’s ability to work things out and I’m softly determined to stick with this kind of plan, even if I lapse occasionally.

Wish me luck. I’ll be happy to explain why I’m upset, if it doesn’t work, and to try and devise a strategy to calm myself down.

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