Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dollars, Euros, Yen, or Tickles?

Things haven’t been going very smoothly these past few weeks. Ada hasn’t been cooperative at all. I have been stressed out and distracted. She has wanted all of my attention and I have wanted to give her a lot less than that. It was a recipe for disaster. Major meltdown was exactly what we got. And I do mean “we”.

I have tried to blame the challenges on being a mother and a daughter and the stereotypes about how we aren’t supposed to get along. I’ve written our fights off as Ada going through the terrible twos now that she was three. The reality was that I wasn’t paying enough attention to her, didn’t know what motivated her, and didn’t have the patience to figure it out. That was why I married Rick.

Somehow, in his seemingly infinite wisdom, Rick figured out that Ada’s main motivation in life was to be tickled. By observing that one thing that ruled her world, he was able to create a currency of tickles. If we wanted Ada to change her diaper, put on her shoes, or stop yelling, we just had to pay her in tickles. Amazingly, it worked. It didn’t solve all of our problems, but it sure helped with a lot of them.

Moral of the story: Find what motivates your child (other than money or food) and use it to encourage good behavior.

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