Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Discipline With An Orangutan

A few weeks ago, I wrote about using the vacuum cleaner as a learning tool to teach my twenty-two month-old son not to pull books of the shelves. Now, I have discovered a new tool to use as a last resort when he gets overly rambunctious and jumps on the furniture or hits his sister.

What is the this new tool?

The feared stuffed orangutan!

Whenever my son sees this orange-haired beheima he immediately stops what he is doing, gets a look of terror on his face, and his hands and arms start shaking.

Is using the orangutan to discipline mean? Perhaps a little bit.

Is it effective? Certainly.

Now the mere mention of the orangutan is enough to get his immediate attention. As returned home from work one evening, I overheard my wife asking our son, "Do you want me to get the orangutan?" Apparently he was jumping up and down on the leather sofa and this question stopped him in his tracks.

My mother has always strongly disagreed with me about using the orangutan technique. However, after visiting for four nights she finally realized that her ideas of "simply telling him to stop" only worked in theory. Before she left I asked her once again what she thought about the orangutan technique and she conceded, "I think I am starting to understand."


At April 26, 2006 at 8:44:00 AM EDT, Blogger almost_frei said...

you must be joking? using scare tactics to discipline your child?!

What are you going to use as he gets older?
You would be better off using a mix of love and rewards..

I cant believe you are pulling a fast one on your readers.

At April 26, 2006 at 8:51:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

almost_frei: I wrote that I only used it "as a last resort". 99.9% of the time I use the love and rewards methods.

Why do you believe that I am pulling a fast one on my readers?

At April 26, 2006 at 3:02:00 PM EDT, Blogger almost_frei said...

Look I am not against the use of punishment as a means to be mechanech children. What got me is the thought of using a toy as the means to achieve it. (i am not a shrink, but...) I think children need the security of consistency. Toys are for playing, TV is for watching, prams are for traveling, plates are for eating.. u get my drift.

Using a toy (and he will realize it's a toy at some point, before u stop using it) to frighten a child is not healthy.

A child should never be frightend about anything, especially by a parent.

You are there to protect him from exactly the horror you are (even 1% of the time) imposing on him. I would say the same thing if a parent's discipline in any other way, is so severe that is scares him. The child should be motivated to do what a parent wants based on a desire to please... to feel attached.. not some external fright.

Your posts are usually very intell and reasoned, that is why I thought this post was a spoof.

I am sorry if I am too strong about this, but it is something I strongly believe in. On the other hand, my parents never did anything remotely like this, so who knows what i would be like.....

At April 26, 2006 at 3:31:00 PM EDT, Blogger Mottel said...

That thing is scary . . .

At April 26, 2006 at 3:41:00 PM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

almost_frei: I appreciate your point of view. I did not use the orangutan in a malicious way, I used it simply to get his attention.

My mother also didn't not agree with me on my use of this and I realize that I am not always right. Perhaps it wasn't the "right" thing to do.

Nevertheless, I intended this posting to be more humorous in nature. I actually wrote it a few weeks ago and now my son is so used to the orangutan that he actually laughs when I bring it out.

Mottel: ;)

At April 26, 2006 at 3:59:00 PM EDT, Blogger Eshet Chayil said...

Growing up I was scared of dolls. Anyone who came at me with any kind of doll had me run screaching in another direction. Actually, come to think of it, I still hate dolls.

At April 26, 2006 at 5:36:00 PM EDT, Blogger torontopearl said...

I beg to differ...just in the fact that I think that monkey is rather cute, not scary-looking at all.

Every parent has his or her means "to get the job done." Some are frowned upon by other people, while other people borrow the techniques. If this method helps you out, and you see improvement with it, then I figure you'll use it as needed. Maybe when "Blondie" is a bit older, and understands better, you can take Orangutan to your son and show him that he's friendly and fun, not scary. (perhaps have a "picnic" with his stuffed animals, including this simian.) Or maybe you take him to the zoo to see the orangutans, and let him judge for himself if the real-life version is scary or fun.

At April 26, 2006 at 6:53:00 PM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Eshet Chayil: Interesting. Thanks for your comment.

Pearl: Finally someone who understands me! Thanks for sticking up for me (and my orange-furred friend).

At April 26, 2006 at 11:12:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A couple of things came to mind while reading your behavior training tactics.

First of all, if he is overly, and I say overly not not normal growing rambunctousness, animated in situations that don't warrant, then I would monitor his diet to see if there are any foods that could be prompting this behavior. This is not fantasy, there is a basis for mood swings vis-a-vis food sensitivities.

Second, since your wife is having a difficult ninth-month pregnancy, with her chemical internal eco-system a bit upset, there may be underlying nutritional deficiencies of the mother that the son has inherited.

A consultation with a good well-trained natural nutritionist (as opposed to one that works in a hospital - you know hospital food!) would uncover any underlying sensitivities. Sometimes a change in diet would be beneficial for both mother and son. This is a widely accepted practice for nursing mothers. One young mother I know has been put on a severe diet to ease the discomfort of her baby's severe ezcema.

Many doctors think that such troubles are in the mind, but what we eat is becoming more and more recognized for its contribution to how we feel, think and behave.

How is your wife doing? Have not heard lately.

At April 27, 2006 at 1:52:00 AM EDT, Blogger Stevin said...

What a good idea!! I've got a 1 year old who is discovering the art of disobedience. I loathe the idea of punishing him, but perhaps with the help of a stuffed monkey, I can make some serious progress.

At April 27, 2006 at 6:40:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neshama: Thank you for your ideas. Thank G-d my wife is feeling much better now in the home stretch.

Stevin: That sure is a cute picture on your profile. I am glad you appreciate my idea ;)

At April 27, 2006 at 6:41:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

I didn't mean to post as anonymous - those were my comments.

At April 27, 2006 at 10:54:00 AM EDT, Blogger Alice said...

When I was a kid our kitchen table was right near a phone hung on the wall. If I refused to eat my dinner, which was often, my dad would pick up the phone and say "Operator, get me the White House!" Since we lived near DC and saw the White House often I really thought Pop had the pres. on his red phone. It fightened me, I ate my dinner, and I really don't think it left a scar. C'mon. And if my son refuses to eat, don't think I won't try it.

At April 27, 2006 at 12:48:00 PM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Thanks for the story, Alice.

At April 27, 2006 at 4:41:00 PM EDT, Blogger Mottel said...

About the doll being scary, many children find such things to truly be frightening -take clowns as an example

At April 27, 2006 at 11:52:00 PM EDT, Blogger ... Is the Window to Our Soul said...

I'm sorry but I think it's awful to use the monkey when you know how scared he is of it. It's not teaching him any good lessons, but it will only reinforce unwarranted fear or phobia in his future.

Trust me I do understand a defiant or "spirited" child - from the time my daughter was 18 months until she was 4, it was extremely difficult getting her to listen and follow directions. She is almost 7 and is diagnosed with AD/HD, and we are finally getting to a better place.

I would just rethink using that technique.

At April 28, 2006 at 6:23:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Sweettooth120: Thank you for your comment. As I wrote above in the comments ,"I actually wrote it a few weeks ago and now my son is so used to the orangutan that he actually laughs when I bring it out."

At September 6, 2006 at 11:18:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

I was 100% wrong. Seehere


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