Tuesday, April 23, 2013
David Gets in Trouble
David Gets in Trouble, (by David Shannon) is a book about little David who always seems to be getting into trouble and makes excuses for his mistakes. This book is a great book for kids who are constantly being told "NO" by others. When a child is only told "no", he is unable to learn acceptable behavior. While children must be corrected, they should also be given acceptable options to replace their unacceptable behavior so they can grow as individuals.
I recently used this book with a seven year old boy who became aggressive and defensive when corrected. After reading the book through once, I asked the patient to think about appropriate alternatives for each of David's excuses as we read it again. For example, when David says, "I couldn't help it", my patient chose to replace that phrase with, "I like to be silly". This not only created open communication, but it allowed the patient to try some new responses in a non-threatening environment. It wasn't personal since we were talking about David and not the patient. At the end, I asked the patient if this book could help us in the hospital. After some discussion, the patient decided he would like to try out some of these new responses with his parents and nurses (with the help of a sticker chart and a prize at completion...we'll see how that works).
At the end of the book, David says "I'm sorry. I love you mom". I wondered if this would be difficult for my patient because his family is not affectionate and this patient does not hear "I love you" often. That was my own discomfort as this particular patient did not react to that part of the book at all. It would, however, be important to consider before using with patients who may be lacking and seeking affection from their caregivers.