Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Bad Apples and Bad Habits

It has taken eleven years and four children, but a Shupe has finally earned a trip to the principal's office.  We have earned the Bad Apple Award.  I always anticipated this dubious award going to Emily for her chatty little mouth.  She has luckily skated by with no issues.  The recipient of today's all expense paid trip to the principal's office was

Yep, our rough and ready six year old was scuffling around with his buddy in lunch line.  The lunch lady hauled them both to the office for a "little talk" as I like to call it.  I would not have known the incident occurred except his teacher noted his behavior today as a 2 out of 4.  Usually he gets 4's on his behavior.  When questioned, Grant brushed it off as nothing until he learned I planned to ask his teacher tomorrow morning about the incident.  Then the story poured forth as he tried to stem the flow of tears. 
After a little talk we have seen the error of our ways.  He solemnly promised to keep all hands and feet to himself ad infinitum.  We shall see.  Tomorrow he plans to tell his lunch lady and the assistant principal he is sorry.  I am sure the sheer horror of doing that will be enough to motivate him to be on his best behavior  ....    at least for a few weeks. ;-)
Bad Habits.....
While talking about all things bad today, I will throw in a little good news about a little bad habit.
Grace has developed a little habit of chewing her hair.  I know this is not the end of the world.  I also know this is kinda gross.  So we are working on breaking her little habit one little quarter at a time.  I gave Grace ten dollars in quarters.  I then explained every time I caught her chewing her hair she had to give me back one of the quarters.  If I never catch her, she gets to keep the quarters...   FOREVER.  BUT if I catch her enough times I will take all of her newly acquired quarters away then she has to start paying me out of her own money when I catch her.  So far I have taken three quarters during the first two days and have not been able to catch her since.  I think she may have just earned herself $9.25 by exercising some remarkable self control.
Way to go, Grace!!
I tried this trick several years ago with Emily for another little bad habit.  It worked with Emily too, but not until we burned through the original ten dollars worth of quarters and probably another five dollars of her own money.  The pain of parting with her own money was what finally convinced her to change her ways.
Operant conditioning at its best!  Thank you B. F. Skinner!!
Goodnight all!!

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