First Point

As I watched Jessi close the garage door while tossing something in her mouth, I ran through the scenario, hoping I could navigate past the anger I was feeling and not screw this up. I stood silently as she entered the house and waited for her to realize what I’d seen. Her body language, stiff back with the apathetic expression, told me she was ready for the usual battle.

“What were you doing in the garage?” Mistake #1: Never ask a RADish “what were”, because you won’t get a straight answer and it’s a waste of your time and theirs. They wait for you to answer your own question, because they want to use YOUR brain. I get silence and that RADish cold stare. So, I move on to mistake #2 and ask what was in her mouth.

“Gum”, she says stoically. “Dad said I can have some.” I question whether he gave her permission to enter the garage when he’s not home and take the gum whenever she pleases. “Yes, he did.” So, I repeat my question and her shoulders drop inward as she quietly whispered, “No”.

I stood still as I clicked through the new strategy I’d read the day before and shifted from anger, which was what she wanted to see from me, and started celebrating. “Woo hoo! Oh yeah! Uh huh!” I shouted while dancing across the kitchen to grab an orange (nice, bright color) dry erase marker. Matt didn’t know why I was shouting, but he liked the idea and joined me. As I drew a cupcake on the board, Allen joined us and happily thanked Jess for giving us our first point.

“Sweet, Jess! Now we only need 9 more to get our cupcakes! Thank you for lying! We got our first point!” We all danced and I added a thick, purposefully large “1″. Jessi was in shock. She literally froze in her spot, unsure of what just happened. She certainly wasn’t getting the reaction she wanted AND her lying was giving us something WE wanted. It was BEAUTIFUL.

Last summer, we dealt with targeted tormenting and found hope in Ten Weird Things that Help RAD Kids Get Healthy. This summer, we (as in me, Michael, Allen and Emma) learned this handy little strategy of earning points for lying from 99 Ways to Drive Your Child Sane. Word of caution: DO NOT USE THIS WITH MENTALLY HEALTHY CHILDREN. Having 3 other people in the home helping me implement this technique has been helpful, because when you’re the sole disciplinarian, it’s exhausting. With a cupcake reward, I have THREE other brains actively luring Jess into situations where she’d normally deny involvement. It is BEAUTIFUL.

I am happy to report that in 2 weeks, we have earned just the one point. Our RADish is on top of her game and not interested in seeing us eat cupcakes without her. She’s realized that lying isn’t worth her energy when we whoop it up and dance rather than get angry. That feeling of whooping and dancing? It is BEAUTIFUL!

west of home south of sanity

Like us on Facebook if you’d like to receive updates from our Circus. Carey is on Instagram and documents our daily adventures, so be sure to follow. You can also find videos on Vimeo.  Are you a tweeter? Find Carey on Twitter!



  1. Becci Long says:

    Love it!!!! Whatever works and that is a great one!! Love you guys!! Becci

  2. Laurie Barre says:

    Brilliant!!! You know later in life (when you have time – haha!) you really need to write a book :)

  3. I love this! What a perfect way to turn a RAD kids ploy around on them! I’m going to have to try this in our house. We do have a lie jar – actually it’s a lie, swear, steal jar – full of candy. Whenever one of the kids get’s caught doing one of those three things, everyone else gets a piece of candy. Yay!

    It’s good to have 3 of you to do this – it’s very exhausting if there is only one. Julie and I tag team each other, trying to always keep neutral or happy faces, even when we’re going crazy inside!

    The gum thing reminds me of something that happened yesterday with Sean, our youngest. He’d gotten a new toy, and something got stuck on it so he broke it in half. Then he got stuck. Julie was taking him to Neuro-therapy, and he was in a bad way. She thought he was getting a little better – she had a piece of gum and he very politely asked if he could please have one. Julie gave him one and he proceeded to immediately throw it out the window! Ha!

    Sometimes, they’re pretty funny if you can keep from killing them!

Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge