Spit in the soup! A strategy for challenging behavior

Imagine having lunch with a friend. Right in the middle of the meal, you lean over and spit in his soup.

There are probably a lot of things you could say, but you could never say, “Oh, I’m sorry; that It was an accident.” It is a provocative gesture that can only be explained as intentional.

I’m not sure what your friend will do or say in response to that gesture, but it will definitely be something that was far from their mind when you sat down to lunch.

Think about that for a moment. Spitting in your friend’s soup brings about a change in his behavior that you control for the time being. When used with an oppositional and defiant son or daughter, a spit in the soup gesture can cause a positive change in their behavior.

spit in the soup addresses three strong characteristics of challenging youth:

1. They honestly believe that everything they do is spontaneous and unique. Fortunately for us, their behavior is predictable.

two. Much of their defiant behavior is of the indirect and “sneaky” variety. If “I didn’t know…” or “I forgot” can be eliminated as excuses, behavior and compliance often improve.

3. They love to take their parents into a war of words. Verbal reaction is his specialty.

As you will see below, a spit in the soup the intervention addresses all three of these characteristics: it is proactive, it handles excuses, and it is non-verbal. Best of all, it tackles all three features with a measure of well-intentioned humor.

mom survey (Intervention #1): Mom smiles at Tommy as she hands him this “survey” and a pencil at breakfast:

Tommy: At 7:00 pm we’re going to have dinner at the Smith house. The last time we went, you were 20 minutes late coming home and we had to attend to you. It was not a pleasant evening for any of us.

I was wondering… should I worry about you being late again? Please initial one of the responses below:

___No problem, mom. I’ll be ready to go at 7:00 pm.

___You can count on me being late again.

A letter from Victor (Intervention #2): When Sarah gets home from school, Mom hands her a letter. It is addressed to Sarah in large, childish print. She opens the letter to read:

Sarah: Help me please! I’m sitting here in the closet. It’s so dark and lonely in here. Sarah, I haven’t had any exercise or company in a long, long time. Before you start your homework, would you get me out of the closet and onto the study rug? Will you help me Sarah? Please? —victor the void

Although there is no guarantee of any of these spit in the soup The approaches will always work, they are not coercive. That can save a lot of complaints. Also, if confronted with a note, a parent might respond, “I thought it would be better to remind you in a fun way than to get us mad.”

It would be hard to argue with that. ###

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