Tuesday, September 22, 2009
The Loophole Master
I wrote earlier that we had figured out a primitive, yet tried-n-true sticker chart to help James modify his behavior to more closely resemble a boy who lives in a family than with a pack of wolves. Long-term he's working to earn his visit with his friend Madiyar. Short-term, he has to get a star six days out of seven to earn a trip to the drug store or dollar store so he can buy a little something for himself, such as a pack of gum or small toy.
Well the little so-n-so loopholed me the very first week out of the gate.
He had been doing great and had earned a star every day, Saturday through Thursday. Six stars out of seven. So Friday afternoon what does he do? He starts irritating all his siblings by teasing, mimicking, making faces, basically pushing every button he can find. All the kids are in an uproar and I told him to cut it out. His response? When are we going to the drugstore? I told him I couldn't take him out when he's acting like that. He got very indignant and pointed out he had earned his six stars, as agreed on, so I needed to take him to the store, as agreed on.
Damned if his logic wasn't sound.
I sat there stunned for a moment trying to figure out a rational response. All I could think to tell him was that I couldn't in good conscience take him out for his reward in the middle of him acting so poorly towards everyone. If he could pull it together and treat everyone respectfully, I would take him out for his reward the next morning.
Well, he shaped up and I did take him the next day and he looked over all the toys and ended up buying himself a pack of Starbursts. I tried to explain to him why the reward trip needed to be delayed and he seemed to get it. But I'm still shaking my head over how he managed to find that loophole. The kid's too smart for his own good.