Home > It's A Legal Matter > Don't do it

Don't do it

By Jeff Terrill

Fort Wayne Reader

2015-04-07


Motivating children can be a challenge. Unfortunately, sometimes bribery and extended negotiations occur within my household just to get my five year old son to do the simplest tasks.

Lately, Iíve been enjoying a recent streak of success with the implementation of reverse psychology. I canít use it often. For some reason, it seems to work.

Itís very basic and it works a bit like this: My son refuses to finish his dinner. I remind him that he needs to eat more. He ignores me and stops. I know heís still hungry. I tell him to eat some more food. He refuses. I say, ďOkay, Iím going to the bathroom. Do not eat until I get back. Got it? Do not eat ANY of your food while Iím gone. Understand?Ē

Right about that moment, my sonís face lights up and a smile starts to form. He might even laugh. Heís already decided that he will eat all of his food while Iím in the bathroom.

As I head towards the bathroom, I hear him laughing and eating. With my back to him, I again remind him that he is not allowed to touch his food. He laughs. When I return, most or even all of his food will be gone. Works every time. Well, almost every time.

This same strategy works for other basic tasks like getting dressed, cleaning up messes and brushing teeth. My son gives me trouble about taking a bath. Problem solved. I start the bath, he follows me into the bathroom crying or telling me that heís not taking one. I tell him, ďFine. I will take a bath. This bath is for me. I will be right back. Do not get into the bathtub while Iím gone. I will be right back. Remember, do not get into that bathtub. Got it?Ē

Again, I can hear him laughing and jumping into the bathtub as I walk away.

Sometimes I wonder if Iím messing with his mind by using this reverse psychology method. But I also appreciate the importance of a youngster eating his fruits and vegetables and taking baths.

I also wonder why my son gets such a kick out of defying my commands. What if he doesnít outgrow this? What if I have to continue with this dysfunction? We live in a society filled with rules and laws. Follow them or suffer the consequences.

When he starts to drive, will I have to remind him not to drive the speed limit? Will he be tempted by a ďNo Turn on RedĒ sign? Will I need to tell him to trespass when the sign says ďNo Trespassing?Ē Will I need to tell him not to get good grades? Wow, this is starting to seem like a bad idea.

Thatís all for this week. I need to make sure my sonís asleep. A few minutes ago, I told him not to go to bed.

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Jeff Terrill is a partner/shareholder with the law firm of Arnold Terrill Anzini, P.C. Mr. Terrill represents clients accused of crimes throughout northeast Indiana. You can contact Mr. Terrill with any questions or comments at his office at 260.420.7777 or via email at jterrill@fortwaynedefense.com. Learn more about his firm at www.fortwaynedefense.com. This article expressed opinions and observations of the author, is not intended as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader. Please consult a qualified attorney with any legal questions or issues you might have. Thank you

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