Monday, 8 June 2009

The bargaining power of a fruit pastille.

It is certainly true that scarcity breeds desire for many things and that is certainly true in our house. Take the average fruit pastille. I imagine if I had some to hand regularly at home their presence would have no impact whatsoever, but the mere suggestion of producing one can persuade the twins to perform wondrous U-turns in behaviour that only toddlers are capable of.

Today was ballet - something the pair of them have raved about and practised daily at home since their first trial lesson. Now they have the uniform and are fully paid up members of the dance school however A had other ideas. Unless he could dance in his Cinderella dress he wasn't playing ball. Not for anything would he put on the black T shirt and shorts he had coveted so much a fortnight ago. In a moment of guile and cunning I suggested H might like a tube of fruit pastilles from the cafe bar whilst K danced.... and we were in business. One fruit pastille later and the promise of another after his lesson and A was changed and in the hall. Perfect. Only problem then was persuading H that he couldn't eat the rest of the packet before the lesson ended.......

Buy yours from "Sweet Wonderland"


Parenting, in my opinion, is 99% mind games and 1% organisation. Perhaps a little else - but not much! Trying to keep on top of the needs, wants and demands of four kids is no mean feat, but I have a little world class expert in mind battles to contend with here. H, with a diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome, can reduce the toughest parent to a heap of jelly with his relentless arguing, repetitive demands and escalating volume. Personally I think Barney videos at Guantanamo Bay were waaaay over-rated as a form of mental torture - life with an Aspie is often MUCH higher up the scale of mental olympics. Imagine gradually "coming to" at 5am to the sound of someone yelling (at an ever-increasing volume) the morning's explanation of their current state. It's usually "I'm not going to school!" followed by "You can't make me!" etc which is in fact (I believe) designed to wear you down before you have a chance of a positive start. From then on in it's negotiation at the highest level.... in fact Sir Alan would be really impressed by his unswerving dedication to the chosen topic and his ruthless persuasive technique. What worries me is we end up only partially listening and finding we have agreed to trampolining at midnight or similar! But then being allowed more than 5-6 hours sleep would give parents an unfair advantage....

Sadly fruit pastilles rarely cut it for H, unless offered in bulk. His preferred carrot is always more expensive, and usually something to do with Pokemon. I did try offering a single card each time but somehow without realising it had given in to offering a whole pack in one go. The makers of Pokemon certinaly knew what they were doing too - designed to perfectly appeal to every child (and adult!) on the Autism Spectrum in every way. GAME store owners across the country rub their hands together in glee when a new Pokemon game is released, knowing full well it isn't an option to buy for many but an essential, spawning numerous Youtube monologues offering walk-thru advice which H actually sits and listens to whilst playing the game on his console. It's so much more than "just a game" for these kids, and like A's fruit pastille, the creators understand only too well that rarity breeds desire. Each and every pack of cards will be largely full of worthless duplicates whilst the "Super Rare" Pokemon remain elusive and few and far between.

Now, if I could lay my hands on the "Super Rare" Pokemon fruit pastille equivalent I really would be getting somewhere. Whoever said "knowledge is power" hadn't spent a 12 hour day attempting to bargain with a 7 year old Aspie, or indeed the majority of under tens on the planet. What it all boils down to most of the time is holding that super rare fruit pastille or the Pokemon everyone is looking for....

All the Small Things - MummyNeverSleeps

21 comments:

  1. interesting, i dont remember if my mum was buying me with sweets, but i certainly remember that my nephew was always offered a chocolate or some sweets if he was grumpy or simply didnt want to do something, but his favourite and its my mums fault was a phrase " toy shop", oh he was always good as gold

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  2. This is brilliant. I am terrible at bribing my two in desperate moments!! X

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  3. Ha! Mini doesn't have a carrot at all. Seriously that children doesn't care!

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  4. I'm currently doing potty training with my eldest and the entire process is pretty much sponsored by chocolate stars. I know this will probably give me issues when I need to cut them out but at the moment? It works...

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  5. haha this made me laugh. I love it 99% mind games and 1%organisations. Most days I feel that this is sooo true. x

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  6. I think I will end up going down this road with Baby when she is a little older x

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  7. Lol, I love that you can keep your humour against such challenges. It''ll keep you sane and get you through each day. :-)

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  8. And you have to get both copies of the Pokemon game - you know because X is very slightly different to Y.

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  9. Got to say bribery and corruption works wonders with children. I use it all the time lol especially at the moment Taylor has entered the terrible 2 tantrums and I offer him all sorts to stop the screaming, cars and tractors normally work a treat so I always have one to hand in my coat pocket! :-) x

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  10. I remember my Mum bribing me with treats at times I think most of the time it was because I didn't want to go to school whoops! x

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  11. I am so with you on Pokemon! We took part in a Pokemon Battle challenge this week and I fully expected to be surrounded by hundreds of kids - the adults outnumbered them 10-1!!

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  12. Ah bribery is such a useful parenting tool at times! Here it is kinder Eggs for the small chap, and my older boy spurns Pokemon for Minecraft - another game that is perfect for kids on the spectrum, as they build it and control the environment - I think mine would be much happier if that worked in the real world too!

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  13. I must admit I work on the same dangling carrot principle - and that's to motivate me!

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  14. Motivating children without them noticing is an incredible skill. At the moment we have a very contrary toddler and he is gently 'persuaded' to change his mind about 100 times a day. Parenting is exhausting but these little tricks and tempters can also be lots of fun :-)

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  15. haha so true, it's all about mind games! I feel like I'm constantly trying to trick Wilf into doing things! x

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  16. I like your thinking - 99% mind games and 1% organization - I need to move some % back to mind games

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  17. Oh, we have the same here. Mia still loves her milk even though she is three next week so a promise of some warm milk usually does the trick ;) x

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  18. You have parenting down to a tee!

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  19. Couldn't agree more. Sometimes all you can do is use bribery. The trick is just to find the right bribe :)

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  20. I don't remember my mum or dad using bribery on me and I can't think of any times I've used it on my kids but I'm sure I must have done on more than one occasion!

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  21. Ha this is very funny bit oh so true! Yes, bribery and bargaining are the tools we must learn as parents. It all stems from 'if you don't eat your dinner you won't get pudding' etc... it works in any form and I use this all the time. I too have four kids, one is a teenager and most of the time now it's 'if you don't do [insert requirement], I'll take your mobile phone' lol - works a treat x

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Many thanks for taking the time to comment, I really value your responses.

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