Monday, 29 April 2013

Reinforcers assemble!

It appears I may be raising little hooligans according to some interesting facts on challenging behaviour I learnt from a course I attended?

Apparently folks, I'm a REINFORCER! That's something I should be ashamed of, I think...? As much as its sounds like some kind of renegade western gang joined by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, I think its more likely something I need to join a support group for along with a course of cream from the doctor.."I'm sorry Mrs Street but you've got a bad dose of 'reinforcer'..use this ointment and rub liberally on the spot for a week. If its doesn't clear up come back and see me!" 

My crimes are many. Theres no rehabilitating me. I'm doomed to wear a high vis jacket and pick rubbish from the side of the A38! I'm like the Fagin of reinforcing! I encourage others to reinforce for me! And together we live in a reinforcing parallel universe where we find challenging behaviour to reinforce!

Bet you're sitting there now, a secret reinforcer! well we need not be secret any longer...

I am forming our own reinforcers support group, where we can share tips and ideas on reinforcing our children's bad behaviour so they too live end up picking rubbish off their local A roads!

I shall start:

"I'm Donna and I'm a reinforcer. 

My crimes are many and varied. I'm afraid to say I reinforce behaviours. Sometimes I don't even know I'm doing it. I use to think it was just motherhood but now I know it is a condition of worsening degrees.

I started out harmless reinforcing my children's apparent bad behaviour. I say apparent as I wasn't aware it was necessarily bad! I would cuddle them when they cried. I would not leave the room but allow my little girl to sit on my knee whilst holding in my desperately needed wee! It started off small but slowly I began to get a kick out of comforting my children. 

That's when I realised that comforting them wasn't enough. This is when I moved on to the hard stuff like giving them things, treating them, and making sure they had everything within their reach thus apparently prolonging their inability to ask for things. Had I realised that by putting Cody's Thomas the tank engines out of his way that he would miraculously find his missing vocal cords and ask for it I might of hidden all their toys out of sight but sadly I was too far up by that point!

Reinforcing became my life. I would do anything to make them happy and so it became a vicious circle. I would treat them to toys from the pound shop, knowing for well that by buying my children presents I was willing making them ungrateful and spoilt. Challenging behaviour breeds out of such niceties and soon my children will be screaming for ponies, chocolate fountains and gold! 

They tell us we shouldn't pander to such behaviours but I need my fix. I will do anything to keep the smile on my children's face, yes, even trying to avoid meltdowns at times. This is the cardinal rule of the reinforcer. You must reinforce behaviours that prevent meltdowns if you are to rise up the ranks and become the Tony Soprano of the reinforcing community.

They say this is bad. They say you must let the child have the meltdown rather than get their own way. They say meltdowns aren't bad. They say it won't last long. They say if you try to please your child, try to guess what it is they want instead of letting them head butt you, they say they will get worse. "Who says this Donna?" I hear you cry..."Who is this that knows better than I, the mother?" The professionals, I say. Those who do not live with autism. Those who have no children yet alone special needs ones! 

These are the people telling me to put my sand pit in the garden instead of in my living room!! To them I say "NO". If my child likes playing with sand he shall do it in the warm not in 34 mile an hour winds! To them I say "NO" Jesse shall play on her ipad when she wishes not just as a 'special treat'...and to them I say "NO" it is not alright to let my kid headbutt me nightly rather than go to the £1 shop and buy a little toy for when they come home from school! 

To them I also say "Why?" Why can I not treat my children the same as other parents treat them? In the world of the muggle playground I have seen them reinforce their children also by meeting them out of school with jelly sweets and chocolate treats packaged in cardboard tubes. I have seen their living rooms resembling creches and their children happily moving from toy to toy in verbal bliss. Why can I not give my children this? Why would this damage them more than others? 

I see no wrong doing in my behaviour. I see merely actions guided by love. I see no asbo behaviour emerging. I see no deliberate mutism. I see happy rounded stimulated children enjoying the kind of lifestyle their muggle peers do.

So to you I say...if I am reinforcing anything then I am a reinforcer of love. Like some love dealing pusher I force my love on to my kids. They will not be sad, they will be treated, they will have everything they want at their fingertips! 

And to those who tell me to allow the meltdowns I say this "Let Cody kick you in the tits and then tell me to stand by and let it happen!"


Reinventing Mommy said...

YES! I have been saying this for a long time. If a typical kid LOVES Sesame Street, their parents will buy them all sorts of Sesame Street gear, deck out their room in Elmo, and go nuts with an Abby-Cadabby-themed birthday party.

So, my kid loves numbers...but I'm told not to let him enjoy numbers? It's "catering to my child's obsessions" - supposedly a negative thing - if I deck out his new big boy bed in a bed spread covered with numbers. I don't see anything wrong with it; I'm doing what any parent would do for their child. Just like any mom, I do things that give my child joy.

Looking for Blue Sky said...

It took me a lot longer to get to this point, and I still feel guilty when I read about other parents of kids on the spectrum who are constantly restricting screen time and making them do activities and all the things that I used to do. But my son is happier, so I'm starting to think that maybe it IS the right way to go said...

It's true...there will always be a part of me that's wonders if I need to reign in my liberal approach to them? The woman giving the talk was shocked I'd actually got a sand pit in my house! But then maybe my kids are so relaxed most of the time because they've got access to that sensory release when ever they need it...?

In the end I applied the if it ain't broke don't fix it theory!

Ila Adkins said...

You have a beautiful, inspiring blog. I just wanted to let you know that I nominated you for the "Liebster Award". You can read about it here:

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