Saturday, September 15, 2012

Rules, rules, and more rules

I try to keep things positive with Quinn. Before we brought him home, we were lucky enough to have breakfast with awesome psychologist and author Dr. Kevin Leman. He lamented how he hears so many parents walking into Walmart while telling their kids, "You had better not act up! You better not touch anything! You better not ask for any toys." When you do that you're just planting negative ideas, he says.

So we keep it positive. But in our desperate quest to help Quinn stay at the school we really like, we've been blasting him with a barrage of rules. "Don't turn on the microwave." "Don't bang into any friends." Actually, it seemed to be working - he wouldn't do whatever thing we told him not to do, but the list kept getting longer as we added whatever had trouble he'd gotten into at school that day.

Then at lunch last week, I noticed him mumbling and I bent down to hear what he was saying. This is what I heard: "Do not pop anyone's bubble. Keep your hands to yourself. Keep your body to yourself. Do not put pebbles in your friend's mouth. Do not kick any friends on the slide. Do not touch the buzzer. Do not touch the microwave. Do not touch the green button. Do not bump into any friends."

Well, that was just about enough to make me cry. Poor kid. Who could keep straight that litany of rules? No wonder he was getting into new trouble each day. With so much negativity bouncing around in his head, honestly, what other outcome could we expect?

So you might think that this was a wake up call and I immediately changed my ways. You would be wrong. That didn't happen until the next evening, when I was telling Quinn that Miss Leticia said he did a good job of stopping a negative behavior when she told him to (believe me, that was progress!). He looked up at me and said hopefully, "Was she proud of ya?"

By George, she's finally got it! Let's get back to positivity! So on Thursday and Friday we kept telling Quinn how proud we were that he was trying so hard to stay inside his own bubble and how we knew he was going to keep doing better and better.

And guess what? GUESS WHAT? He's doing better. So much better that when Tom picked him up from school Friday Quinn's teacher pulled Tom into the classroom so he could see all the good things Quinn had done that day.

As always, who knows if we've cracked the code? Who knows if this will last? But positive certainly feels better than negative. To all of us.

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