Don’t Like That? Great, Let’s Do It More!

Maybe it’s just me and my warped sense of dealing with children and their issues, but I was reminded today that I’ve had great success in the past with curing a child’s issue by giving them more of what they don’t like.

For example, years ago, one of my children whined and complained and dragged her feet when it came time to do her math. I tried a variety of solutions and none of them worked. Finally, out of desperation, I told her that since she dragged math out so much, maybe she needed more of it and I had just the solution. I told her we’d quit using the workbooks and games and such that we’d been using and would go to Grandpa’s method. When I was a girl and my dad taught me math, his method was to give me a list of facts to memorize and tell me to go copy them a hundred times each. After I’d done that, he’d tell me a quiz would be coming when he had time. At some time later, he’d give me an oral quiz, stating a fact problem and snapping this fingers. If I didn’t give the correct answer before he’d snapped, I had to copy that problem another 100 times! And since problems from previous lessons always appeared in his oral quizzes, I learned those facts very well. So, this would be my daughter’s new way of learning math and she’d get to spend plenty of time on those lessons.

Her eyes looked like they would pop out of her skull. “You can’t do that! I’ll hate it! You’re so mean!”

But I just smiled and said this was sure to help her (though inwardly I wasn’t exactly smiling) and told her we wouldn’t be going to any fun places or such until she was done.

She was only about 3/4 of the way through the list I gave her a couple of hours later when I asked her if she liked the new math lessons or would she rather return to the old way? But if we were to return to the old way, she’d have to stop whining and dragging her feet and just get to work on her math. A smile burst across her face as she promised she’d be much better about doing her math lessons from now on because nothing could be as bad as Grandpa’s method. And she never did reach the kvetching level she’d been at previously.

Lately, I have a couple of teens who don’t want to get up in the morning and get started. But when they drag things out, it impacts other plans in the day and sets a nasty tone in the house. I’ve tried a lot of different plans to help them get up at what they considered the unearthly hour of 7:30 a.m., but nothing worked for more than a day or two. So I finally remembered my previous successes and decided that I’ll fix the problem by waking them up at 6 a.m. After all, if they were in a school, they’d likely be up even earlier than that to get dressed, eat breakfast, and get out to catch a bus to school. I’m hoping that a day or two of getting up at 6 a.m. will help them really realize that 7:30 isn’t too bad as a wake up time and be willing to go back to our previous schedule minus the griping. Or maybe we’ll just be up early. Maybe have them run around the block to wake up before doing other lessons. Hopefully, the plan will lighten the atmosphere in the house as I’m so tired of complaints.

Cheryl, who likes to stay up late and isn’t a fan of getting up early either but does what needs to be done


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