How did Pavlov get it right?

So I know I am not a trained professional in anything but Pavlov managed to train a dog to react to a bell.

One would assume then that one should be able to train a child to react? Surely? Doesn’t that make sense? Yes? No?

Well clearly NOT! Either the dog Pavlov used was smarter than my kids or he had more patience than I do or he lied!

Every afternoon just before we eat I say “have you fed the dog” – every day the child whose day it is replies “No I will do it now”

Every afternoon after Jack and Kiara have bathed I say “Cameron please go and bath”

Every afternoon I say “PLEASE take your plates to the kitchen and scrape the food off”

When the don’t do these things there IS a reaction – I get mad!

Is it not the same thing as Pavlov and his obedient dog?

I am so very extremely tired of saying the same thing OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER!

Any ideas on how to get them to actually do the daily stuff without me having to beg and plead? Maybe I should do a proper Pavlov and only give them food when they listen and ring a bell!!!!


  1. says

    Welcome to the joys of pre-teen kids. And LFS – Large Family Syndrome.
    I’m not sure I have a workable solution for you.
    You could try just stopping all pocket money and all treats.
    It’s hit and miss over here, too. Lately, I just walk away. You can’t be bothered to bring your lunchbox to be cleaned after school? I can’t be bothered to find it and pack your lunch next day.
    You can’t be bothered to get off your arse and come and fetch the dinner I’ve cooked and dished up for you? Okay, starve.
    You don’t feel like bringing your plate to the kitchen and scraping off the food? Okay, I don’t feel like fetching my purse when you ask me for pocket money…
    Usually, this gets them to wake up pretty quickly.
    I know it sounds harsh, but in a big family, everyone has to do their bit, otherwise the one who carries all the slack will burn out. Fact.

  2. says

    I have no idea. I only have one and my morning mantra: eat you breakfast, eat your breakfast, eat you breakfast, eat your breakfast, get dressed, get dressed, get dressed, get dressed, where are your shoes, where are your shoes, where are your shoes, where are your shoes etc. Then I go: FOR THE LOVE OF BABY JESUS, JACKSON, THIS IS NOT FUN FOR ME…EAT YOUR BREAKFAST, GET DRESSED, FIND YOUR SHOES NOW.

    And I only have one…

  3. says

    Pavlovs theory is correct, only it’s your kids that have trained you to keep asking (until you get mad). *snort* The problem with human kids – is that they don’t react to the same things each time, so you have to *shift* your leverage to something meaningful to them. So if they’re not listening, start removing stuff, TV off, computers/ipods etc gone, then as they start realising what’s happening – and responding in a way that you want – you start to slowly give those things back – and you are reinforcing the positive – and you’ve swung Pavlov’s theory round to *you* the way it should be. At least that is what is working in our house at the moment. The tricky bit is finding their trigger. The *thing* that will make them react strongly enough to then carry out the behaviour that you want to see in them.

  4. says

    I’m starting to follow Meea’s theory… I ask once now, and then their food gets cold and I start eating. Showertime thankfully is ok in our house, because they now shower in different bathrooms at the same time.

  5. says

    What works for us is this – I don’t do things they want to do til they do things they have to do. Like we don’t bath until ALL the toys are packed away to my satisfaction (not just dumped in the sunroom, but in their various boxes). and then we don’t start reading until teeth are brushed :)

    Otherwise, the star charts work – I’ve upped the ante – I want 25 stars before we go to a restaurant on the weekend (it was 20 before and they started getting it too easy). Now remember we also want to go but we had to suck it up for about two weeks while they saw we meant business.

    And I also like natural consequences – so I said once if you keep doing that, the pram is going to break and you know what I do with all broken things? I throw them out. Sure enough they continued to abuse the pram and it broke. And I made a BIG palaver of chucking it out. And then they started obeying when I said stop doing that, it’s going to break.

    Did this help?

    I think the kiddos need to know we mean business. It’s HARD in the beginning when you’re training the behaviour but so easy when they know you’re consistent.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge