In 2012 my husband and I threw our hands up into the air. “I give up!” and “I’m out of tricks!” Our 3 ½ year old son was a handful. Not your average “boys will be boys handful.” For example: While in the car and on the highway, Max would unlock and remove his seat belt. He would refuse to sit down and would act all crazy. Another example: Max would unlock the deadbolt lock on our front door, in the wee hours of morning, while we were sleeping. He would go outside to play. The door would close and he was locked out. Which he didn’t mind since he never bothered to come back inside the house. The doorbell rang, and our neighbor down the street returned him to the house (which we didn’t know he had left.)
Also, it often took 1 to 2 hours to get Max to stay in bed and fall asleep. This went on for months and months. We were exhausted and it was really unfair to our daughter Jaclyn.
Max wanted what he wanted– and when he wanted, he was going to get, it no matter what. And he could find his way around, over, under and through anything.
On the sidewalk Max loved to run away and even cross the street. He certainly was obeying our boundaries. Stop meant run faster. Freeze meant, I can make mommy super mad and have her screaming down the street after me. Awesome.
We called our pediatrician and she suggested Tuesday Child.
Max is and always will be a work in progress. We occasionally wonder which side the of law he will end up on. An extremely skilled Navy Seal or a sneaky jewel thief caught jumping from rooftop to rooftop.
The good news is that right now we have a big bag of tricks. Indeed, TC reminded us to be good observers. Set Max up for success. We had never thought of it that way. We just wanted to get through the days where he didn’t misbehave and throw a tantrum. Now we know Max can get through anything. We may have to help him, by setting up his environment first and be prepared to help him, especially when he uses his words.
The two biggest areas of concern we wanted TC to help us with were Max’s safety and going to bed at night.
During our 12 week program we cranked up the praise and caught Max being good for those first few weeks. Trust me, that was no easy task. Then we worked on a number of other tools including clear directions, differential attention and antecedent planning and reinforcers.
I would take Max outside with a container of mini M&Ms. And I would have him walk about 8 feet ahead of me. Then ask him to come back and give me a high five and hand him an M&M. We repeated this all the way around the block. We did this for several days. He quickly learned to stop and come back to me up my first request to do so. Yes, it was like training a puppy! And it worked.
I love hearing all the tips parents and trainers have for each other. I learn something every time I walk into TC. And every time I walk in I have learned something new about my kids. TC provides a large “tool box” to parents. It’s the parents’ job to actually figure out what those tools look like for their child. And as time marches on, parents will need new tools and to modify some of the ones they have. I utilize my tools as best as I can. We ALL do better when people find the good in what we do. And now I know, that will never change.
I always say my son is a work in progress. But really, we are BOTH a work in progress.
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