Creativity expert, professor, father and former day care provider Rustin Wolfe writes a weekly MinnMoms parenting advice column that uses creative punishments to put a positive spin on negative behavior.
Here's one of his creative solutions:
LEGO OF CONFORMITY
Question: How can I get my son to stop treating his Legos like a model kit and actually use his imagination?
Solution: Lose the instructions.
Activity: You don't have to actually lose them, but you do need to take the bull's-eye off of them. You can sit down and build some alternative creations yourself, to show him the Legos don't self-destruct when you deviate from the manual.
You can split the Legos into two piles and let him use only half. Or you can mix sets together to make it more difficult to use them for what's pictured on the box. You can challenge him to build a particular kind of thing or to use a particular piece or a particular color combination.
When my parents handed down my old Legos to my children, it set them free. They had no preconceptions of what they were supposed to be, so they built what they imagined they could be. Perhaps we should be giving the gift of Legos in an unmarked box.
-- Want Rustin's solution for your child's challenging behavior? Send questions to email@example.com.
-- Read the Naughty Column