Monday, November 7, 2011

The Fulfillment Project and Impulse Control

As promised on Thursday, today's post looks at how the check mark system works on a completely different kind of kid.

Child #2 is the polar opposite of his sister. Where she's intense, reserved and a little high-strung, he's easy going and affable. He has the ability to strike up a conversation with anybody, and I do mean anybody. He's the life of the party, the kind of kid that is usually in the center of things. Last year on our family vacation I kept hearing roars of laughter from the resort hot tub. I went over to inspect and found Child #2 dangling his feet in the water and holding forth to about thirty people.

"I'm so sorry. Is he bothering you?" I asked.

"No, he's like paid entertainment," I was told.

For the rest of our vacation everywhere we went people stopped talk to Child #2. Life is exceptionally kind to Child #2 and when it isn't, he shrugs it off as an anomoly. Hence my dilemma with discipline. He's stoic about lost privileges, even going so far as to remind me to enforce any punishment I might mete out. Sometimes I feel like life gives him so much that he doesn't really care about punishment. Still, I was determined to stick to the check mark system with both kids.

As I said before, every kid has their touchy points. Child #1's are precise, like her, but Child #2's are more ambiguous.  On any given day, I go through a litany of things that I ask him NOT to do. Some days I feel like all I say is "please don't touch, shout in my ear, pour water over your head at school, feed strange dogs, put your hand down your pants, eat things you find on the sidewalk, destroy [fill in the blank], lick you sister, roll in the mud, play with toilet water, talk to strangers." It's a neverending list, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the common thread was impulse control.

The never-ending stream of chatter, the not listening, the going up to his room to get socks and returning empty handed after twenty minutes because he had to build something important with his legos, are all rooted in lack of impulse control. The question was whether candy deprivation would have any effect on him or whether he would shrug it off, and in his usual way, say, "I'm sorry Mom, but even when you're mad at me I still think you're beautiful."

Tomorrow, The Fulfillment Project looks at Child #2's induction into the check mark system.


Tonja said...

Maybe he's looking for attention? And getting it. :) Cute kids.

Johanna Garth said...

Thanks Tonja! Undoubtedly he's doing both!!

S.B.Niccum said...

Thanks for stopping by Johanna. Lets do an exchange!

Sarah Tokeley said...

He sounds like my daughter :-)