How do you change a disposition?

Yesterday Casey came home from school with an incident report.

He was the incident.

He threw a scooter at another child and it hit the other child upside the head.

Casey smiled as he retold the story.  “Casey naughty.” He said.  “Casey very naughty.  Casey make bad choices at school today.”

And he says it like he’s PROUD.

He likes being naughty.

He loses snack.  He loses TV.  He loses benefits and privileges until there’s nothing left.  HE STILL LOVES BEING NAUGHTY.

Today Casey came home from school having been naughty again.  “I no listen to the teachers.”  He smiles.  He likes being naughty.

We are trying to help him understand sympathy and empathy and trying to get him to be a bit more sensitive.  Or at least kind.  Riley seemed to come by these human connections more naturally.  

Last week while driving on the interstate Kim hit a goose.  She did all she could to miss the poor thing but I think it had already been hit and couldn’t get its bearings.  The darn thing hit right above the front tire and dented our car.  As we drove on by Riley looked back to see if the bird would be okay.  I’m not sure if it would have been or not, but either way, the semi truck behind us made sure that it wouldn’t.  Riley immediately began wailing.  He felt so bad for the goose.  He was even a bit frustrated at Kim, wanting to know why she couldn’t have missed the goose.  Kim explained how she couldn’t swerve on the interstate and how she had to keep us safe first.  Riley cried, “I know.  I just feel so bad for the goose.  And his friend who saw him get killed.”

Casey kept repeating, “Mommy hit a goose.  With the car.  Mommy hit a goose.”  Everybody we saw that weekend he made sure to announce that “Mommy hit a goose. ”  It wasn’t sadness.  It wasn’t boasting.  But he kept repeating it, even thought (or especially because) it immediately brought Riley back to tears.

So, how does one change a disposition?  Or maybe more accurately, how do we nurture this naughtiness into a socially acceptable non violent non compliant productivity?  Now, that’s our challenge.


6 Responses to “How do you change a disposition?”

  1. kim Says:

    i would just like to clarify something: i did not hit a goose – a goose hit me! i got out of it’s way and it still ran into the car. i did not hit a goose…

  2. Carrie Says:

    Who wants a socially acceptable non-violent non-compliant productive preschooler?….Let him stay naughty! He’ll grow out of it. (or at least learn to hide it)

  3. Sedalb Says:

    Kim, are you sure it didn’t waddle into you? My wife is always laughing at me when I say that my childhood pet turtle (named toddley) ran away.

  4. the other Says:

    When he’s about 22 years old he will grow out of it. At least I did. I haven’t hit anyone in years, and I hardly find joy in making people miserable. (ha ha) In Sedalb’s defense Toddley was pretty fast for a turtle. At least he keeps a better eye on his son.

  5. Jen Says:

    Abby is the same way – it’s hard to give her consequences, b/c it doesn’t really faze her – being naughty is fun enough that it’s “worth” getting in trouble for.

    And we’re no help, b/c when she’s being “impish’ (naughty w/o hurting others) we laugh with her. A lot.

    Ultimately, at home she wants a reaction – part of it is being the younger sibling – she WANTS emma’s attention, even if it’s negative. We’ve trained emma NOT to react, to just leave the room when abby acts up. we do the same thing – she was enjoying the negativity – she felt super powerful, being so disruptive!

  6. Doug Says:

    ok its been a week. back to work also give kim a break she keep you & the kids safe

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