No Naughty Chair Here...helping kids with challenging behavior

Tomorrow, I get the pleasure of helping educators and parents learn some ways to intervene with troublesome behaviors, without being punitive. Basically, we'll be talking about giving a time-out to time-out!

A recent award-winning book has a story that very eloquently demonstrates this very notion.  Here, Vivian Kirkfield, from her newly awarded book, Show Me How: Build Your Child's Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking, shares how this idea operates in real life.   (Bear in mind that this interaction took place years ago, before mounds of research even supported its importance!)

Show Me How, by Vivian Kirkfield

"I stood in the doorway of the bathroom, staring at the letter "P" penciled on the toilet seat. Four-year old Peter was having a hard time finding his place in the family between his bright seven-year old brother and his adorable new baby sister and was involved in one mischevious situation after another.  I picked up Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak and went to find Peter who was building a fort in the playroom.  He came to me immediately when I sat down in the story chair.

'Are we going to read a story?' Peter asked.  I set him in my lap and we read about the night Max did a lot of naughty things and was sent to bed without any dinner.

'Will I have to go to bed without any dinner?' Peter queried? 

Tears rolled down his face as he added, 'I was writing my name on paper.  I went to the bathroom and I was feeling mad that Jason is big and Caroline is little and I am not big enough or little enough.'

Hugging my son, I replied, 'Everyone feels sad or mad sometimes.  If you talk about how you feel, we can try to help you feel better.'

Peter looked up at me with a smile as I said, 'We love you just the way you are.  You are just the right size to make your own book to read at family story-time.  But first we have to clean the toilet seat."  Peter slid off my lap, relieved that I had acknowledged his feelings in a positive way.  Skipping ahead, Peter replied joyfully, 'I can help, mommy!'"

Wow!  What a beautiful illustration of how social-emotional support operates in real-time, with real kids, in real situations.  You can read more about the Show Me How book here.  How might this situation have turned out if Peter was not provided with the loving guidance he was so fortunate to receive?  I can imagine a number of different endings to this story. Can you?  Has this story inspired you to parent or teach differently?

For more discussion on this very topic, you can register for the F*REE webinar that will run tomorrow, April 6th from 2pm-3:30pm EST here.  Our F*REE "Time-out for time-out" webinar, sponsored by the Robert-Leslie Publishing Company and hosted by Early Childhood Investigations will focus on a more compassionate approach, that teaches, supports and guides children towards being successful. Can't make that time-frame?  No worries!  You can sign-up anyways, and you'll get the link to the webinar, to watch at your leisure!

As always, we wish you happy parenting!


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