Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Dear Terrible Towel Toiler

I've been asked to start a new business, as aparenting coach! So, in the same vein as Dear Abby, Ann Landers, and all the other big name advice-gurus, I bring you - -

Dear Laura Sybil

Since none of the other big-name folks use their real names, I thought I shouldn't, either. That way, if you don't like my advice, you can't find the real me to complain to. Go find some Laura Sybil somewhere and complain to her.

So here goes, my first question and answer:

Dear Laura Sybil,
I have a child (identity protected) who refuses to hang up their wet soppin' bath towel. No amount of reprimanding, reminding, or cajoling will prevent me from finding that towel balled up somewhere other than their towel rack.
Help! Terrible Towel Toiler

Dear Terrible Towel Toiler,

I completely understand your dilemma. As I mentioned in an earlier post, we have had variations of the towel troubles at our house for years. I find that lessons to address the issue are a must. First, you eliminate the possibility that your child has some type of towel-hanging learning disability whereby this skill does not come naturally. Maybe your child just does not pick up on the social cues of reprimanding, reminding and cajoling in relation to towel hanging. Be certain not to laugh in your child's face during these lessons (leaving the room to do so is okay). Second, you have established that follow-through is expected and exactly what you are looking for.

So, how do you go about these lessons? Choose your lesson time wisely. The child must be alert; full stomach is optional. It must be at a time when the child would rather be doing something else. Then, make it a LOOONNNGGG lesson, dragging out each and every point in the process. Make sure it's embarrassing. Be sure to break the task down into smaller chunks, having review and practice along the way.

Let the child in question know that if one lesson isn't enough, the next time he/she wants to go with friends, or play Wii, or whatever, you will be more than happy to give a repeat lesson. Oh, and the first lesson is free. The second is costly and the third is an exorbitant price (going up in similar increments beyond that). The price should be something that matters to that child, whether it be money or loss of privilege, etc.

You could also attempt the discomfort technique. First you will need to hide all of the other towels in the house. Throughout the day and night, you will want to re-wet the balled-up towel so that it is rendered useless at shower-time in the morning. Since all of the other towels must be in the laundry, that is the only one available. Show much sympathy, but also state the facts of the matter as in, "Poor Baby, if only you had hung your towel on the rack, it would be dry this morning. Well, better luck next time." Or as we like to say in the King household, "Suck it up, Cupcake!"

If none of that works, I would go on strike. I'm not sure it always works for the labor unions, but I've been known to give it a try myself, with great success. If employees don't live up to their side of the bargain, then management is free to let them know something's not working. Refuse to do any more of that child's laundry, meal preparation, etc. until he/she is ready to come to the negotiating table to talk. You know what you need before you're ready to bend.

Keep up the good work, Terrible Towel Toiling Mom! Your child's future spouse is going to thank you!

Laura Sybil

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