Tale of a Punishment Procedure (No Hitting Allowed!)

So my teeny tiny daughter learned to walk. This wasn’t yesterday; she’s been taking steps since she’s all of 9 months old! But at 11 months, she thinks she’s 11 years old and walks, runs, hops, skips and jumps (lol at least she tries!) She keeps me in shape chasing her up and down the street as she tries to catch up to her brothers on their bikes. All this was tiring, but part of the program with a young walker.

And then she ran into the street. Very very fast! I ran after her and held her tight… and she was laughing hysterically! This had become a fun game! ABA mom that I am, I knew that I had to intervene RIGHT THEN! Otherwise I’d be creating a very dangerous situation. So, as I held her, I considered my options.

  1. Light Spank

Don’t kill me for this one, but when my older children were young, I gave a light spank when they did anything dangerous. I prefer my children scared but alive and well. And being a punishment procedure, the spanking worked. They had never been touched before, they were in shock, so even though it didn’t actually hurt them, they learned to stay out of the street. (This didn’t work for one of my sons, but that’s for another time ????) They sometimes go so close to the gutter that it makes my heart stop, but that can be shaped. This method had worked for me before, and was therefore a reinforced response on my part:

Child goes in the street (danger) –> light spank  –>  Child never goes in the street again

Sd –> response –> reinforcement

So why was I hesitating? Because Adina is 11 months old. She is super duper young. Young to be walking, young to be spanked. I don’t know if I’m right on this one, and those in the know will tell me she most definitely will learn from this, but I was looking for another method. And I needed it quick….

So I tried the second option…

  1. And strapped her in the stroller.

For an active baby like Adina, this was akin to incarceration and she protested with all her might. I think she cried louder then had I spanked her! The learning curve with this method was not as swift. After a couple of minutes, I let her loose. And she ran straight back to the street, looking back to see what I would do. I waited until she was just about in the street, then picked her up and strapped her in again. More wailing- this was breaking my heart! We repeated this procedure about 2 more times, before I let her out for the fifth time (And yes, the neighborhood moms were staring but who cares? It’s my child’s safety at stake!) and she looked at me and then toddled off in another direction! Success!

Well, the true measure of success will be when we go out to play this afternoon. Will she try the street again? Or will this procedure have served as Punishment, where the consequence ensures that the behavior does not occur again?

Sd –> Response –> Punishment –> no more Response!

We may also see some spontaneous recovery… I’ll keep you posted!