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Old 08-01-2014, 02:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Spitting

Hey Mamas,

I searched the archives here and in Life with a Toddler, and came up with nothing...which surprised me!

My almost three year old has very recently decided that spitting, randomly and also on his baby brother, strangers, and in my face, is quite hilarious. I feel so disrespected and SO extremely angry when this happens...I would say I go from 0-60 almost instantly.

Anyone else gone through this? What worked for you? So far I just tell him in a voice that barely conceals my rage that we don't spit in the house and we don't spit on people. He usually responds by spitting again. I realize that mostly it's going to take some time, he'll grow out of it etc etc...maybe I need some tips for dealing with my self, my own reactions!

Thanks in advance,

Tara
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Old 08-02-2014, 01:58 AM
 
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Hugs. Yes my first did this. No I still don't have any good advice. What a button pusher. I think you're right in working on yourself. The only one we really can work on right?
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Old 08-02-2014, 03:35 AM
 
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This might not work as well with a 3yo, but when my 5 yo started this recently I (after explaining until I was blue in the face how nasty it is and why not to, with no results ) started insisting that she clean it up every single time. After it inconvenienced her a few times it seemed to sink in that the fun wasn't worth it.
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Old 08-02-2014, 09:04 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BushMama83 View Post
Hey Mamas,

I searched the archives here and in Life with a Toddler, and came up with nothing...which surprised me!

My almost three year old has very recently decided that spitting, randomly and also on his baby brother, strangers, and in my face, is quite hilarious. I feel so disrespected and SO extremely angry when this happens...I would say I go from 0-60 almost instantly.

Anyone else gone through this? What worked for you? So far I just tell him in a voice that barely conceals my rage that we don't spit in the house and we don't spit on people. He usually responds by spitting again. I realize that mostly it's going to take some time, he'll grow out of it etc etc...maybe I need some tips for dealing with my self, my own reactions!

Thanks in advance,

Tara

For spitting on you: Stay calm, say nothing, immediately turn away and walk away, stay away for 3 minutes (one minute for year of age). For the baby brother, take the baby brother and do the same. It will start improving noticeably in 1 to 4 days and be gone or almost gone in a week or two. This might cause it to stop with strangers too, or you could move away with the stranger also, or use some other method for strangers.


You can stay in the same room and watch him out of he corner of your eye if need be.


Making him clean it up might work, but it's more complicated and you'd need some technique to keep that from turning into a battle of wills.


Another method (perhaps for strangers) is to pick one of his high frequency voluntary activities and immediately ban him from doing it. Try short period bans at first and never more than a day.
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Old 08-02-2014, 04:08 PM
 
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Also, you might do this for less than 3 minutes. Just clean up and come back.

"So far I just tell him in a voice that barely conceals my rage that we don't spit in the house and we don't spit on people. He usually responds by spitting again. I realize that mostly it's going to take some time, he'll grow out of it etc etc...maybe I need some tips for dealing with my self, my own reactions!"

He's getting lots of reinforced practice in spitting. Attention infused with emotion, there is no better way to give a kid reinforced practice. That's why he spits again, that's what reinforcement does, it makes the kid do whatever you reinforced again.

It's normal for a parent to start losing it when they are doing something that they think will reduce a behavior that in reality causes the behavior to increase. Particularly when you think it might take more than week or two, that he might need to "grow out of it".

If you start taking an effective approach and start seeing the results, then your emotions will move in line with what you want them to be.

Last edited by tadamsmar; 08-09-2014 at 11:44 AM.
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Old 08-02-2014, 06:00 PM
 
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I'd redirect him to a place he can spit. And remember to phrase things positively. The brain has a harder time translating what not to do into what TO DO.
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Old 08-03-2014, 07:46 AM
 
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These all sound like good ideas: enlist help cleaning, leaving the room/limiting attention to spitting, some mild and immediate punishment, and finding a place where he can spit in an acceptable way. I think "what works" depends on your DS and why he's spitting/what he's getting out of it.

My 3 year old spit on my mother recently. My mom had the wherewithal to say she didn't like that, and then move to the kitchen to rinse her shirt. The adults there decided to let it be a one off and just moved on. No repeat.

If we had a pattern I would try all of the above - starting with the most gentle solutions and/or solutions that felt most authentic to me as a parent. I may also try giving the child a tissue as if she/he were spitting because they had too much saliva. At times giving my child the benefit of the doubt and the highest possible assumptions can help them have another perspective on behavior.

Mama to DD September 2001 and DD April 2011 *Winner for most typos* eat.gif
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Old 08-03-2014, 10:13 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Polliwog View Post
I'd redirect him to a place he can spit. And remember to phrase things positively. The brain has a harder time translating what not to do into what TO DO.

It is certainly harder to get rid of a behavior than is its to substitute a alternative behavior. I neglected that in recommending just ways to mildly punish or extinguish the spitting.


Acceptable spitting is similar to unacceptable spitting and it's tends to be easier to shape a small change.


But when substituting an alternative, you need to substitute a behavior with the same function.


I am assuming that the function of the unacceptable spitting is to get parental attention. (It's worth noting that that is just a theory. Everything is a experiment based on hunches geared at finally finding something that works. I think the most important rule is the "2 week rule" that if you don't see improvement in 2 weeks then try something different.)


So, to successfully substitute acceptable spitting, you will need to give it attention. And, if you keep having to redirect unacceptable spitting, it's still kind of gross to have the kid spit on you initially.


Also, the root cause is probably that the baby is getting attention that the DS use to get. With the new baby, it's harder to give DS all the attention he wants.


Because of all this, I would try substituting something like acts of kindness or helpfulness directed towards the baby. That way, attention to DS is synergistic with attention to the needs of the baby.


And, you can do both redirection and encouraging kindness with attention.
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Old 08-07-2014, 06:38 PM
 
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Try explaining to him the possible effect every time he spits anywhere or to someone else. Show him negative effects of his actions. That's what I usually do to my kids, I would show them pictures or videos if they don't do this and do that and find it effective.

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