Nutty therapy

“What’s this?” Mr. Handsome asked the other morning when he came into the kitchen and saw me dividing peanuts into four little glasses. “Do we have a bunch of Dumbos around here?”

“Ha. Very funny,” I smirked. “We just might.”

Peanuts were my latest attempt at dealing with the bickering, name calling, bad table manners, and poor attitudes that had been cluttering up my home. All the typical techniques—gentle reprimands, scoldings, shrieks, threats and dire consequences—weren’t doing the trick. My throat was raw from yakking/explaining/arguing/laying down the law, and I was exhausted. It was time to pull out the nuts.

While I’ve been accused (rightly so, I’m afraid) of being a tad bit nutty and my kids are nuts (they get it honestly), I’ve never before parented with nuts. I’ve employed pennies and mini M&Ms in the warfare against bad behavior, but the humble groundnut had, until that morning, largely been ignored.

The treatment plan is as follows:
1. Line four glasses up on the counter and place 10 peanuts (or 20 peanut halves) in each glass.
2. When a child does something wrong (talks back, name calls, disobeys, etc), announce, “I’m eating one of your peanuts,” and calmly walk to the counter and pick a nut out of the appropriate glass. And eat it. (Look at that! You can simultaneously fortify yourself and discipline your children! Three cheers for multitasking!)
3. When the allotted amount of time is up (see point number four), the kids get to eat their remaining nuts. (The Baby Nickel insists on chopping his few remaining nuts—he’s struggling, the poor kid—into as many pieces as possible so he can have more than the other kids and subsequently not feel so bad about himself.)
4. For optimum effectiveness, use the treatment for short periods of time. (We do not continue with peanut therapy in the pm; in this house it’s the mornings that are tough.)
5. For additional fun, include a cup for yourself, name a bad behavior you want to correct, and let the children monitor you.

So there you have it. After one day of peanut therapy, their behavior was much improved (even Miss Beccaboo’s, and she doesn’t like peanuts). The powerful peanut shocked them into goodness, I guess.

I wonder how long it will take the psychologists to start utilizing this new treatment plan. The new DSM is coming out in 2012—do you think they’ll make mention of this groundbreaking peanut therapy? Maybe I ought to patent it.

Yours truly,
A Dumbo Mom

P.S. Allergic to nuts? Try raisins.

About one year ago: Caramelized Onions.


  • Suburban Correspondent

    But…why aren't you using M&M's instead? Those are a much more powerful motivator around my house. And if the kids misbehave, I still win.

  • It's me ...Mavis

    I told your story to Monkey Boy and the Girl who thinks she's a bird… they thought it was a VERY smart idea!

  • beth

    I did the m&m and penny jars many times. Even a button jar! I never thought of peanuts! It sure helps to change the rewards! Makes life a lot more interesting.

  • KTdid

    Interesting how competition figures in–how else can you explain the effectiveness on the one child who doesn't even like peanuts?!


  • Mama Pea

    Isn't it fascinating what little tricks work? (And which ones fall flat . . . but we won't delve into that sloggy mess right now.) Sometimes I think we all just need something new, different, outside the box to reprogram out brains. Adults as well as children!

Leave a Comment