Living with Teenagers

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A fun blog of 'soft' philosophy about the life and times of a Westiepoo called Chester. Written as a prelude to a more serious novel raising the question: Who is the most bankrupt: the banker who won't whistle-blow or the chef who loses her livelihood?

Antecedent (posh word for triggers), Behaviour, Consequences ... is an 'ABC social learning model' for living with teenagers according to the Centre for Fun and Families. I know this because my Master, Mr. A, went on one of their courses this time last year. The idea of this model is that behaviour is learned and then influenced by other factors. By concentrating on particular ways, it is usually possible to identify triggers and resultant consequences of young people. In other words, for teenagers to get what they want they use triggers and behaviours to achieve narrow outcomes. If you can avoid the triggers and reduce their effect, then their actions won't happen, and there won’t be any need for any payoffs. You see, apart from my dyslexia, I'm a very smart dog really!

The ABC's of living with teenagers for me is hazardous. You see Mr. A and Mrs. B are (supposedly) on top of the command chain, but I am bottom (apart from in the spring and summer when Henrietta the tortoise isn't hibernating.) I have to contend daily with two teenagers: Miss T, who I hardly see as she spends most of her time in her bedroom or at her new boyfriend's home; and Master R, with whom I share the ground floor. Angst, bark, constipate, might be my ABC.

No doubt, being a teenager is a difficult time in human life ... just as I was until I reached maturity at eighteen months. All those surges of hormones, combined with bodily changes, struggle to find an identity, pressures from friends and a developing sense of independence, means the teenage years are a confusing time, including for me. Master R has, for instance, taught himself to whistle with his finger. Oh, the fierce shrill sound it produces. I should know, my frequency range is greater than yours! He chooses to use his autonomous ability to whistle whenever his mood desires despite everyone's protestations.

Master R's bedroom is (as previously stated) on the ground floor. I often sneak into the room to enjoy the comfort of his bed and to rescue scraps of food on the floor. He's not the tidiest of people (another feature of teenagehood), so he makes it easy for me … empty yoghurt pots a particular favourite. I also benefit from his nighttime companionship in the loneliness of being the single pet in the house. More often than not he forgets to turn off any of the downstairs lights and I sleep with them on all night, ticking off Mr. A for the wasted electricity, energy conscious that he is. And Master R frequently changes his outlook toward me: sometimes happy to welcome me and then, as his hormones change, curse me for barking too loud; other times ingratiating and charming, only to turn provocative and unwieldy. Frankly, I never know where I stand. Hence, I let my terrier instinct take over: quick to seek love and affection; even faster to growl and exhibit my teeth as a sign of displeasure. You poke me enough; I will react, sort of thing.

Still, could be worse, I'm only a dog. It can't be any easier for his parents. They want their sons and daughters, to grow up to be strong people. They just need to be able to live with them in the meantime (and so do I) haha.

PS there is no photos of me with my young owners, they're too embarrassing!!!

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