Sunday, May 6, 2012


Prescribing the problem.  It sounds ridiculous, doesn't it?  Feel free to beat me with a wet noodle.  I can take it.  :)

I wrote about it here in January 2011

Again here, in February 2009

There are more going back to early 2008 but I'm too lazy to copy and paste all the links besides you're not going to click on them anyway.

Our kids ache to push all of our buttons.  Every stinking one of them.  They are like stealth missiles, aimed to search and destroy.  And they take us down.  Then all you end up with is a big wasteland because they have accomplished their mission to make us do the great big splat.  How do you diffuse a bomb?  Very carefully.

Everything you let get under your skin they are going to do it until you're ready to jump off a bridge.  If you can show that it doesn't bother you that's when you will start to see a reduction in behaviors.

The bigger reaction you have to their behaviors the longer they are going to test you with them.  

Anything that annoys/shocks you.  Prescribe it.

That which you accept does not control you.

Kristy first introduced me to the miracles of prescribing the problem waaaaaayyyyy back in 2007.  Then I wanted to hurt her because seriously you want me to tell J to do more of something that is already driving me crazy. Get real, lady.....I'm sooooo NOT going to do that.  No way, Jose!

But I did it anyway..... because I always do what Kristy tells me to do.  She hasn't failed me yet.

It took me quite a bit of time to master this technique.  I mean it really goes against everything that you would think you should actually do.  I kept practicing......

First though, I had to do it way wrong.  My delivery was horrible.  Prescribing the problem with bad delivery does NOT work.

Subtract the sarcasm.  Sarcasm will guarantee that it will not work.

Snideness doesn't work either.  Big surprise.

A kind and regulated voice is an absolute must.

Control battles DO NOT work.  If they don't want to do it.  Don't make them.  Why would you want to torture yourself more?  Wait till they're regulated.

There are several ways to use prescribing the problem effectively.


There are the the behaviors that you wish with all your heart and soul would just disappear.  Such as your kid pees/poops in inappropriate places.  Prescribe the problem.  (remember no sarcasm)

"Oh honey, I noticed you've got some really big feelings going on since you're showing me with pee/poo."  Tonight I want you to be sure to pee here (gesturing around their room), here and here and don't forget here too and by the way, anywhere else that you need to put some big feelings pee there too.  It's not a problem.  I know someday you'll be able to voice your big feelings instead.   I love you and will wait till you're ready."

Then walk away.  Don't say another word.  You cannot care if they pee/poo on all the places that you just gestured to or it will not work.

Remember if they do pee/poop in those places, they are doing what you told them to do so you win and they do too.
If they don't do it, you still win and they win too.

Your kid like to *ahem* show inappropriate body parts or *ahem* likes to pay a lot of attention to inappropriate body parts in inappropriate places.  Prescribe the problem.

Dia actually is the one that clued me on this one and I have to say it works like a charm.  She is sooo wise.

Prescribe it every hour.  Seriously.  Especially when they are doing something really fun like riding their bikes or whatever.  Interrupt the fun activity for the private activity.

Of course they need to go to their room, bathroom or appropriate private place.

"Honey, you need to run to your (private room) and practice (whatever word works for your family) for 15 minutes.  I'll let you know when your time is done then you need to wash up."  We always use the correct terminology for all body parts, acts, etc. so there is no confusion.  *Gasp*

Using profanity.  Prescribe it.  Yes.  Do it.  I don't care how offensive it is.  Prescribe it.  I've even had one to end every sentence with the profane word. For the whole day.  It's never happened again.

Rolling eyeballs, giving the finger and other annoying things.....  Prescribe it.

"Honey, stand right here and we're going to practice (insert annoying behavior).  You go first.  Then practice it together."

Use prescribing right before you know something inevitable is going to happen.  Such as, you've just told your child to go get ready for bed.  You know that your child always has to have a fit before they go to bed.  Prescribe it.

"Honey, I want you to go get ready for bed but first I want you to throw a fit. Make it big one please."  This is called heading them off at the pass.  It works almost every time.

Always remember that the more they know something they annoys/offends you, the more they are going to do it. 

It is just the way it is.

P.S.  I didn't know till this afternoon that the link to the seminar wasn't working.  I've repaired it now so look in the post below for the links.

1 comment:

MammaT said...

Sunshine went through a time when every few hours there were crazy violent dangerous fits. Finally someone clued us into prescribing it and we figured, well, it's happening anyway, lets take it from five times a day to twenty (and enjoy the quarter of the day that we suddenly don't have to field the crazies but just let them be!!!)...
Every hour, on the hour, our phone alarm would go off, and an already on the verge Sunshine would be sent to rage for fifteen minutes. It lasted about a week before the very worn out child begged us not to make her go throw a fit (we're mean and continued the hourly for three more days) then we cut it back to every 3-4 hours, then once a day, and finally stopped prescribing.
Now, we only get about one fit every few days, and they're quite rarely as crazy violent as they used to be.
Worked for cussing, worked for screaming in the car(although I think the headache and sore throat she gave herself might have helped that one too)...
I strongly encourage prescribing!!! (especially because I got to listen and laugh(without hurt feelings) at a child who was making a mess (that she was required to clean up) of her own things, in her own room (which was Sunshine-proofed) about ...she didn't even know what, but she was throwing her everything into it, and we had a little girl who was VERY tired come bedtime.) did I mention that she ended up spending 1/4 of her waking time throwing a fit and entertaining us and it was a break for us?