Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Pavlov's Children

Y likes to push buttons.  She knows exactly how to cry to get Dani and I to capitulate.  I'm fine with a daughter pulling my strings to try and serve her own ends, but it needs to go both ways.
Some days, Y just is super helpful (for a 2-year-old).  Other days, I have to physically pick her up and move her to where I want her to go.  It's really hit or miss, and I'd wager this lifestyle is not helping my long-term health.
So, I've decided to prioritize.  I want her to clean when I ask her to everytime without delay.  I want her to go to her room when I ask her to every time (bed time, time-out, breaking up fights) and I want her to stop taking things from other kids and hitting them.
I'm drafting up a 2-year-old obedience school curriculum to do just that.  It's loosely a behavioral conditioning setup using positive and negative reinforcement.  The positive reinforcement is going to be a combination of chocolate, positive interaction with me, and chasing (because Y loves to be chased).  The negative reinforcement will be taking away her security blanket, and spraying her face with water.  I think those two negative reinforcements will work better than the yelling and time-out punishments I've been giving her, since she seems to have a good deal of separation anxiety.
The plan is to get the older sisters out of the house, have a messed up living room, and train her to clean it one item at a time for the first few days.   After a few days, I'll move up to having her clean by giving her two tasks at a time, and associating that with the phrase "clean the living room," and then bump her up to cleaning the entire room.
As for fighting and hitting, I figure the opposite is having her give things to her sisters when they're playing, so I'll ask her to take a toy to N or V and then reward her for doing so.
Then, over the course of a week or two, I'll gradually back off on the rewards until I'm certain she'll continue to exhibit good behavior without being immediately rewarded with a treat.
I'll let you know how it goes.

Why I'm (still) a Mormon

I don't expect much more to ever be posted on this blog, and I'm largely just posting this to share it with some particular friends....