Friday, November 03, 2006

The little engine that could...

One of my children is a terrible dawdler. This child dawdles over schoolwork, over chores, even over games. Said child even dawdles while watching a video, rewinding to watch the same bits and pieces over. This is a terrible habit, and we have addressed it at many levels, but this child literally believes that the situation is not a matter of personal discipline or control, but an actual innate inability to stay on task and complete work in a reasonable amount of time.

Kitchen clean-up is a nightmare when this child has a turn, and the job takes more than twice as long as it should sometimes. One night, I offered a tempting bonus if the child could complete the job in one hour.

It didn't happen.

The next time this child's turn rolled around, a request was made for the same bonus offer, and I refused. Nevertheless, the child was motivated to watch the clock and see if it was possible to finish in an hour.

It was close.

Tonight, I concocted an even more tempting reward and struck a bargain--if the job were completed in one hour, I would do something special with the child.

Guess what? Mission accomplished (but only just).

Now we both know that the child has the ability to get the job done in a timely fashion if the will is engaged.

The motto of the Parent's National Education Union in England was "I am, I can, I ought I will." This child truly did not believe in "I can," but now that we've established that, it's a much shorter step to "I will."


At 5:22 PM , Blogger Firefly said...

Just a thought, but is this child overly particular about how she gets the job done? I am not keen on labeling children, but a variety of anxiety issues run in my family. I suffered terribly from OCD when I was a child and all the coaxing and rewards in the world wouldn't hurry me along. I had to make sure I did everything perfectly and make sure that whatever I was reading was perfectly understood. It was quite exhausting. Thankfully, I do not suffer from this so much anymore. My husband probably wishes I did with the housework, though. *chuckle*


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