Saturday, March 23, 2013

Ironic punishments: Snot edition

Ironic punishments: Snot edition

Apparently one of the behavioural challenges as a parent is to convince children to wipe snot and other related facial dirt from their face in an appropriate manner. It turns out that they learn fairly quickly that transference of snot to other body parts is not pleasant and look for alternative means. I know this because I have observed a two year old of mine toddle up to their mother saying "I want a hug," getting said hug and, while the parent was suitably caught up in a loving embrace, deposit a snotty nose onto the parent's shoulder. The parent is completely fooled by this, interpreting the snot swiping as some affectionate nuzzling. A shrewd child learns to also throw I legitimate hugs regularly so as to hide their parent's role as a handkerchief.

As they get older parental hugs are not as easy to come by. So the child resorts to the use of their own clothing. This is usually a sleeve but again a sophisticated child might note that this gives rise to external evidence and so instead uses the underside of a sleeve or shirt as a covert alternative. There is also the issue of using other materials but as those post is nauseating enough I'm not going to go there.

Child No.2, who is now 12, is not a sophisticated snot transferer. For some reason he continues to use the outside sleeve and continues to be caught regularly. He does this with a tissue already i his pocket! He even does this with short sleeves. Then again these aren't far from the nose.

We haven't been able to nip this in the bud and are worrying he may not grow out of it. So we are resorting to ironic punishments.

Our first of these is to remove his shirt privileges. He literally loses his shirt if he transgresses. This is embarrassing if in public and cold if outside. But it hasn't done the trick.

My new initiative which I have not yet had an opportunity to put into practice is to go with it. OK, so your shirt is a tissue now? Well then it is a public good. Anyone in the family can use it as a tissue. Even he admitted this punishment was a "good one" but I know it requires a supply of snotty noses on hand to really have an effect.

Anyhow given that spring allergies are around the corner I thought I'd post this to see if anyone else wants to share their strategies for dealing with perverse snot behaviour in older children.