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Can a Twinkie really help to Conquer Bad Attitudes?

Twinkie

If you’re hitting brick walls with your kids —finding that you are having a difficult time connecting with them, and they just don’t seem to LIKE you — maybe you need to know about the Twinkie Approach!

Curious?

Are you thinking that this gal has finally headed right off the deep end? I mean why would anyone in their right mind give Twinkies to a difficult kid? Solve your attitude problem with junk food? Give me a break, right?

Just stick with me for a minute, and maybe you will change your mind. The Twinkie Effect is the results of applying the soon-to-be-famous Twinkie Approach in your home. You heard it first here.

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Bringing the Twinkie Effect Close to Home

Sometimes in our home, we hit that brick wall. It’s really bad when it’s with every kid in the house, but it happens, and more often than I’d like to admit. I’m not talking about school only, but it shows up there too. It’s when the people of the home feel like they’re not appreciated, and resulting sad/sour/hurt/angry/(you fill in the blank) attitudes follow.

So we all know that something has to change, but it’s a real challenge to do it, even if we know that we should. It’s that “stuck in my rut” mentality of always responding in the same way.

Enter Twinkie.

Let’s back up a few years. When my husband and I were first married, we had two cats: Buster and Bubbles. They were our kids back then, and we had a lot of fun with those two!

Buster (orange and white) was the rascal, and Bubbles (pure white) was the old lady. They got along quite well, except when old Buster kicked into his play mode! But, they were a good pair, nonetheless, and our little animal world felt complete.

 

BUBBLES’ LOOK-ALIKE

Ridge Haven Homestead. Twinkie Effect

 

BUSTER THE WELL-LOVED CAT and Andrew when he was little

Sweet Little Stray

Then a church member brought us Twinkie, a little stray they had felt sorry for and rescued, who needed a home.

Could we possibly give this little black kitty a home? Why not, we thought. So we took her in, and within a week we discovered the little secret that the church member hadn’t noticed. Little kitty Twinkie was a teenage pregnancy, and we were the happy grandparents-to-be! What joy! “What a bargain,” we groaned.

Twinkie Effect

Twinkie the Mommy

So poor little Twinkie kind of had a bumpy start in our home. It wasn’t her fault, but she was a very young cat, and not exactly equipped to be a mama. So, when her little tribe arrived, she spent more time playing with them like a sibling than mothering them. She always retained a bit of the wild cat mannerisms.

Twinkie–What a Boring Cat!

Once her kittens were homed out, Twinkie stayed with us, but always rather like a dark shadow on the sidelines, and not as much like a family member. Maybe it was because of her wildness, or maybe she just had a boring personality — we didn’t know. She just didn’t click with us like the other cats. We fed her and cared for her, but never really bonded with her much, and we never gave it much thought.

The Twinkie Experiment

Then one day when my husband and I were talking, he said to me, “I think I will do an experiment on Twinkie. Every time I pass her by, I will pet her and say something nice to her, and I just want to see what will happen.”

I didn’t give that much thought. Twinkie was just there, and I figured that was how she’d always be — that quiet presence.

Changes…

It was probably several months later, maybe more, that we realized that the experiment was having an effect after all. When my husband would sit down, suddenly he had a black cat slinking over to sit beside him, which was a new thing. And Twinkie started subtly perking up and talking a little, where she hadn’t done those things before. But, the most interesting thing was that when my husband knelt down for his prayer time, she would rush right over and hop up onto his back, staying there for the whole time. In other words, Twinkie was becoming friendly!

Twinkie Effect  cat on another cats back

 

IF MY HUSBAND WAS A CAT, THIS IS WHAT HE AND TWINKIE WOULD HAVE LOOKED LIKE.

The Twinkie Effect in Our Home

So…I wondered if the Twinkie Effect would work with people…particularly in the family. Could a lackluster kid or parent be transformed by consistent attention and friendliness? Of course I knew it was possible, but what would make me break out of my funk of the grumpies so that I could even try it? Old habits are hard to break, especially for moms who have uncooperative children. We think they need to change, pronto, and they have their thoughts about us.

Twinkie enjoyed sitting on shoulders

Little Attentions, Often

I am probably a simple-minded person, but for me, what started to click was when I thought of how friendly Twinkie became after the little consistent attentions. They weren’t anything big, literally just pats and nice words, but they had a nice effect. I decided I could certainly do that.

Itty-Bitty Living Space

We have had some challenges and stressful times recently. We are five people and three cats living in less than 300 square feet of space and, quite literally, we have all suffered with the plague of grumpiness and have found it hard to break out of it.

Twinkie the curious cat

Fake it ‘Til You Make It!

Even so, I decided that I could at least give as much as my husband gave to Twinkie. I could train myself to give a smile every time I passed by my children and husband. But, sometimes it is hard! At the first it was very hard — making myself smile actually felt really fake, especially when I knew my kids were acting like rascals. Can I get a witness?

What’s Up, Anyway?

My boys eyed me suspiciously, like, “What? What are you smiling at me for?” Not to say that it’s super easy every time now, but it is getting easier, and I am getting smiles back, even if they are goofy ones, laughing at me for smiling at them all the time! Sometimes I make sure to give a cheesy smile, and then they almost can’t help smiling back, and it honestly feels better than scowling.

So, maybe if you need a little inspiration, you can remember Twinkie and her turnaround. Try a little at a time, and you might find that your outlook or someone else’s will change! Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

😀

Just a side note: these pictures are not of Twinkie. All of mine are locked up on the computer that I can’t connect to the web currently. But, these do look like her, and the Bubbles look-alike I just borrowed. That cat looks exactly like Bubbles!

This article first appeared at SDA Honeschool Families Website. Written by me.
— Read on www.sdahomeschools.org/the-twinkie-effect/

One Year Later

I wrote and published this article just at a year ago. I find it interesting that we tend to go in cycles. Good days, bad days, back and forth.

I’d very much like my experience to be more consistent. With my family, friends, and everyone! Why can’t I remember dear old Twinkie on the bad days? Posting this for me is a good reminder of where I have been and where I can be, just if I just make the choices. One step at a time.

The Love Dare+The Twinkie Effect

I just dusted off my old copy of The Love Dare. Don’t tell my husband. I will begin again to do the dares in this book. You can get a copy on Amazon.com by clicking this link. https://amzn.to/300SWLq

I began at the first of the year, and when my husband left town on a trip, I let the Love Dare fizzle out. But I will say that I saw a marked improvement in our relationship when I chose to show love in various creative ways! My attitude definitely improved, but then…life! Life and being busy intruded.

It is never too late to make a new start!!!

  1. I just purchased the companion Love Dare for Parents. Somehow, amid our hectic schedule, I have determined to do the Love Dare for my kids–while I do the Love Dare original for my husband. So far, I just have the first three days of the free sample I downloaded on Kindle, and they do coincide a little with the regular Love Dare. The print book is on its way.

I like that the counsel is more directed towards children, where the original is for couples, so while you could probably adapt one or the other by just getting one book, it makes it easier to get both. Each book has journaling space to record your Love Dare journey.

Reflection is a Must

My personal opinion for this type of book, with journaling space, is to get a print book versus Kindle or Audiobook. The journaling is probably 50% of the learning experience. You read the devotional, perform the daily dare, then write down observations to help reflect on what’s happening in your heart and your spouse/child’s reaction. Reflection and prayer about what you observe is crucial to change!

Your Turn!

Whatever you choose, such an implementing the Twinkie Approach in your home, or if you decide to be even more intentional and try the Love Dare, or The Love Dare for Parents, or something similar, just make sure that you do something!

Change is possible! What are you waiting for?

Related articles:

The Language of Encouragement

The Language of Encouragement, Part 2

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