Dear Kid Whisperer,
I cannot get my six-year-old’s disrespectful attitude and words under control. I am generally calm. I give him choices. Today, the child growled at me. I have no idea where he got that from. This is not just something to do with our current stay-at-home situation. This is an ongoing issue. Please send help. -Kimberly, Santa Fe, New Mexico
I can show you how to use this time at home with your kid to teach him that if he causes problems for someone, he needs to solve that problem before he can rejoin the world. Here’s how:
As we join our hero, which is me of course, we find him in the laundry room with Kid the day after Kid has lost his mind, growling like a feral bobcat.
Kid Whisperer: Oh, boy. That was rough yesterday with the growling and whatnot.
Kid Whisperer: Oh, boy. There you go again. Right now, you are really stressing me out by growling at me. I’m not mad at you, though. I am going to give you a chance to help me get rid of my stress.
Kid Whisperer: Oh, boy. I’m also stressed out about having to sort all of this laundry, so I am going to ask you to do it instead so that you can take away the stress you gave me. I am going to show you this one time. You put the clothes that have any colors in a pile here. You put the white clothes here. That is all of the laundry instruction that I can do without having more stress. If I have to help you any more, I will have you take away my stress by doing more things. I will love you no matter how long it takes for you to take away my stress. I will be in the living room reading my book, trying to relax. Feel free to come hang out with me when you’re finished.
Kid Whisperer: Oh, boy.
Kid Whisperer leaves the laundry room, closing the door behind him to muffle the jungle sounds as much as is possible. Kid Whisperer reads his book in the living room. Kid Whisperer has cougar-proofed the laundry room: everything is unplugged. All chemicals have been removed. Nothing can be pulled down off the walls and the room is ready for a jungle cat to be able to have a safe wild animal tantrum.
If Kid Whisperer has to repeat the laundry instructions, he lets Kid know that additional laundry instruction stresses him out, he gives the necessary instruction, and he brings down additional laundry to be sorted.
Once Kid has successfully sorted all laundry:
Kid Whisperer: Thank you so much for taking away my stress. I feel much better. Go live your life and have fun!
If Kid chooses to run out of the laundry room without fully de-stressing Kid Whisperer, Kid Whisperer picks up Kid and returns him to the laundry room while saying “Oh, boy.” And nothing else. If this keeps happening, and Kid Whisperer gets tired of lifting Kid, Kid Whisperer locks the door to the laundry room and reads his book just on the other side of the door while ignoring all of the sounds of the jungle. When cat-tantrum sounds stop, Kid Whisperer cracks the door and goes back to the living room.
Kid will now learn, over and over again, that tantrums and wild animal noises don’t get him attention or control over members of his household.
Kid Whisperer has created a functional home situation whereby he will either have a kid who acts like a person in the house, or a wild animal in the laundry room who is learning how to act like a person!