Legacy of Trust: MetaBehaviorism
“Meta” is a curious and rich word. It is classically defined as a prefix which means after or beyond. I think its more interesting aspects are self referential like metadata – data about data. Perhaps a metabag would be a bag full of bags. My son seems to be becoming a metabehaviorist. By which i mean a behaviorist employing these practices on himself. Or perhaps this is autobehaviorism?
But let me begin at the beginning. Willow’s parents have this approach which most would consider daring. As much as possible we don’t tell him what to do, we work with him to find out the things he wants to do. He rarely takes showers or baths. He largely does not clean up his room, but can be convinced sometimes. We do try to help him make informed decisions. As early as 5 years old, he suggested and volunteered to stop eating sugar and dairy and to drink tea to help get over his cold at the time.
The other day he was working with Hawina on homeschooling and they had decided some time back that he would do homework. And the system which they came up with (with Willow doing his homework every other day) was not working. Hawina said, “What do you think we should do?”
Willow replied, “I think i should have a weekly homework deadline, and if it is not finished by the deadline, i don’t get any screen time until i complete it.” Hawina was surprised by this proposal, but felt like it was a good one and they quickly agreed on it. [Screen time is the amount of time Willow can spend on his computer, typically playing games or watching Star Trek or Modern Family.]
We hope we can continue this extraordinarily trusting and flexible parenting style. What increases the chances that this will work is Willow’s own (somewhat odd) selecting behaviorist solutions to be run on himself.
I’ve been writing about Willow since before he could read. With most people who i know, i ask them to review blog posts before i post them, if I mention their name in anything other than the most trivial way. Because i had been doing this for so long with Willow i had, until the last couple of posts i wrote about him, not been consulting with Willow on what i was writing about him.
I’ve now cleaned up my act. He reviewed this post, pulled out a couple of points i thought were interesting, but he did not want in it. Future posts mentioning him in any significant way will have his approval before posting.
[Edited by Judy Youngquest]
About paxusa funologist, memeticist and revolutionary. Can be found in the vanity bin of Wikipedia and in locations of imminent calamity. buckle up, there is going to be some rough sledding.
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