"The Drip, Drip, Dripping of Behavior"

June 24, 2022

Not sure why (I have my theories), but there has been a considerable increase of children landing on my doorstep with behaviors that have become something of a water torture of “drip, drip, dripping” to others around them.

The social fallout is the result of this this steady dripping.

Let’s look at Carter, age 7, who does very well in school and is viewed to be quite smart.

There is little that Carter does overtly that anyone can identify as particularly problematic, but the unrelenting “drip, drip, drip” of behaviors results in others reacting to his every small behavior.

Carter is stunned when other children yell at him, “Stop it, Carter!  You are so annoying.”

From Carter’s perspective everyone is picking on him and he has no idea why other children are “mean to him.”

What Carter is unable to see is that behaviors like his ongoing humming and mouth clicking noises start to add up.

The “drip, drip, drip” goes on throughout the day and no one wants to sit with him on the bus or in the lunchroom.  When his mother tries to make play dates, the children don’t want to come over to his house.

There are other situations that Carter misreads, which also has the effect described.  Carter insists on being first in line and continually calls out answers when the teacher asks a question without raising his hand.

When discussing Carter’s issues with his mother, she becomes somewhat defensive with one of the classic lines, “Aren’t all 7-year-old boys like this?”

There are many different opinions on children like Carter and what is needed.

Some will see if through the lens of ADHD. Others will view Carter as being self-centered. While others will dismiss the behaviors as “boys being boys.”

Plenty will be of the opinion that Carter should be on some type of medication.

Others will suggest he needs to be reading social cues better and should be in some type of social skills group or receive behavioral therapy.

Parents will seek my counsel as to how to “fix the problem.”

I always feel like I am letting them down when I say something like, “There is nothing broken and therefore it can’t be fixed.”

However, with various ends working in on the middle (i.e., parents, teachers, school counselors, therapists), behaviors can be modified and improved over time.

Without placing a child like Carter on the defensive, helping him to incrementally  become more self-aware is a good first step to slow down the dripping.


Copyright, 2022 www.shutdownlearner.com

Questions or comments email Dr. Selznick:  rselznick615@gmail.com

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“The Marginally Ready Child”More on the ‘Drip, Drip Dripping’ of Behavior”
All comments (8)
  • Steve Mr. Annoying Kessler
    June 24, 2022 at 6:41 pm

    Hello Mr. Author: Ok, I just read the “drip,drip “ blog., then I have a opinion who you might be referring to when you talk about […] Read MoreHello Mr. Author: Ok, I just read the “drip,drip “ blog., then I have a opinion who you might be referring to when you talk about Carter. If you can remember the term “names have been changed to protect the innocent “. We’ll how insightful and/or accurate might I be ? Read Less

    Reply
    • Dear Steve "Mr. Annoying" Kessler: Names have, indeed, been changed to protect the innocent. Since you mentioned it, it reminds me that the drip, drip, […] Read MoreDear Steve "Mr. Annoying" Kessler: Names have, indeed, been changed to protect the innocent. Since you mentioned it, it reminds me that the drip, drip, dripping not only comes from children, but can come from adults. You weren't given the moniker "Mr. Annoying" for no reason!!!! So, you know what they say, "If the shoe fits..." Keep dripping. As ever, "The Author" Read Less

      Reply
    • Steve Kessler
      @Richard Selznick, Ph.D.
      June 25, 2022 at 1:16 pm

      Ok. Got it. My shoes definitely fit so I will keep drip, drip, dripping even if annoys normal people. Thanks much.

      Reply
    • Richard Selznick, Ph.D.
      @Steve Kessler
      June 25, 2022 at 3:28 pm

      At least you are lovable!!!!!

      Reply
  • Elizabeth Peterson
    June 24, 2022 at 8:47 pm

    I think you just described a very typical issue so many teachers face in the classroom. And yet, they are unprepared with the tools […] Read MoreI think you just described a very typical issue so many teachers face in the classroom. And yet, they are unprepared with the tools to help the Carters in their class. I've been working hard to help teachers realize some tactics they can use for all their students, including for the dripping behaviors (love how you put that!), but I'm curious if you have any advice for teachers? Read Less

    Reply
    • Elizabeth: Thanks for the response. I will try and answer more thoughtfully in the next blog - so I will turn it into two […] Read MoreElizabeth: Thanks for the response. I will try and answer more thoughtfully in the next blog - so I will turn it into two parts. Read Less

      Reply
  • Behaviouravenues@gmail.com
    July 29, 2022 at 1:27 am

    Dear Dr Selznick In my daily practice as a behaviour analyst I meet many children like Carter, very heart breaking for the child and for […] Read MoreDear Dr Selznick In my daily practice as a behaviour analyst I meet many children like Carter, very heart breaking for the child and for parents when no one wants to be around him, focusing more on the disability rather than on the abilities. I totally agree that it should start with making Carter more self aware and with teaching him new skills. I look forward to reading part 2 ! Read Less

    Reply
    • Thank you so much for your comment. It can, indeed, be very heartbreaking, as children like Carter just can't understand what it is that […] Read MoreThank you so much for your comment. It can, indeed, be very heartbreaking, as children like Carter just can't understand what it is that goes on that leads to them not being liked or accepted. Hope you enjoyed part II. Read Less

      Reply

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