A few months ago my son developed a bad case of the rude sillies; I posted about how his silliness went from being intermittent and cute to frequent, obnoxious, and habitual. He was developing a foolishness bug. Happily, the problem has abated almost entirely through a combination of my firmness and habit-breaking efforts and his new lack of exposure to preschool peers whose silliness was excessive.
In working to diminish his rude silliness, I played around with several strategies. One of the best was to lead by example. When he kicked off a bout of silliness, forbidding the behavior often didn’t work well. This was partly because the lines were blurry: often it would start as acceptable fun like singing a nursery rhyme (great!) and convert part-way through to rude showiness that became wild and defiant. It was also because, once fullscale sillines was underway, it was difficult to stop – especially once my two-year old daughter had been pulled into the behavior too. (more…)