I have a favourite white top that I bought in celebration of my children getting older and feeling that I could finally wear white. I would wear it to outings with other mums whose children were still a bit younger, secretly gloating that I was beyond all that and could wear white. “My children are old enough to wipe their nose, wash their hands, not unexpectedly spit up all over me”, my white shirt would say. Oh the joy, it had been 9 years since my last white shirt.
You know where this is going don’t you? And of course it wasn’t the children that got a terrible stain on my white shirt, it was me. It came in from the line one day with two big reddish brown spots. I tried everything, nappy san, sprays and scrubs. Nothing worked. I gave up on it and on ever being able to wear white, realising it possibly wasn’t just the children that had been holding me back from my white fantasy filled life.
Then one afternoon I listened to Shannon Lush on the ABC radio. This was when I first learnt that stains had to be treated differently depending on their cause. I know to all the domestic goddesses out there this is not news, but to me it was earth shattering. I looked at my stain, thought long and hard and decided it was a rust stain from the pegs. Shannon Lush suggested pouring a mound of non-iodised salt over the stain then a few drops of lemon juice to wet the salt and hanging it in the sun to let the salt dry. “The drying would lift the stain right out”, she said. I tried it, and was ecstatic to see it worked!
I realised that I could learn a lot from Shannon Lush, who knew that you need to understand the cause of a problem to solve it. It’s the same with parenting.
You need to understand the cause of the behaviour, in order to change it.
Researchers generally agree that children’s behaviour is motivated by avoiding or gaining something. Just by monitoring a problem behaviour and keeping a record of:
· What occurs just before the behaviour?
· When is the behaviour more likely to occur
· What happens after the behaviour?
By thinking about these things, you can then identify what the function of the behaviour is. When you understand the behaviour, like a simple stain that you have tried everything to remove, the right treatment can be applied and voila. Problem behaviour gone.
Of course it’s slightly more complicated, but you get the idea. Other functions for behaviour might be to get attention, self-stimulation, tangible rewards, displaced anger or retaliation. If you would like more, you could read any of the good parenting books- I even think that Triple P parenting book has some good info on this, but my son flushed it down the toilet (that’s another Blog though). Or get with the technology and buy an app.
This one looks good:No More Meltdowns
I would love to hear if you have got any favourite parenting apps? Or stain removal advice!
And with all that lemon and salt from stain removal, I am going to try this recipe: Roast Potatoes with Paprika and Lemon Salt