Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 16

Thread: Husband being a slob? Treat him like a trained seal.

  1. #1
    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    In WhoreLand fucking your MOM
    Posts
    55,359

    Talking Husband being a slob? Treat him like a trained seal.

    Has your wife suddenly stopped nagging you? Is she praising you for picking up your socks? For handing her a dishtowel so she can dry the dishes? You're being trained like Flipper.

    Blame Amy Sutherland. She's the author of a New York Times column that has shot around the globe since it was first published a month ago, soaring and remaining at the top of the paper's most-emailed list. You can barely surf the net without bumping into it: "What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage."

    In it, Sutherland, who spent a year at the Exotic Animal Training and Management Program in California researching a book, explains how she used the techniques she saw there to retrain her husband of 12 years. The results created a better marriage for both of them.

    "The central lesson I learned from exotic animal trainers is that I should reward behaviour I like and ignore behaviour I don't. After all, you don't get a sea lion to balance a ball on the end of its nose by nagging. The same goes for the American husband."

    Put down that pen. Step away from the keyboard. Don't rip this up in outrage yet. Sutherland's premise is not man-bad-woman-good. Her tongue-in-cheek column is a guide to surviving the slings and arrows of marriage at a time when divorce feels like an epidemic. What do you do when your soulmate leaves his dirty socks all over the house, or when she can't stop shopping for shoes?

    Sutherland saw trainers at EATM teach baboons to skateboard and elephants to paint. Surely she could teach her husband not to have a meltdown every time he lost his keys. She began applying the tricks of the animal trade to his behaviour, rewarding small improvements to encourage repeat performances.

    "I began thanking Scott if he threw one dirty shirt into the hamper," she wrote. "If he threw in two, I'd kiss him. Meanwhile, I would step over any soiled clothes on the floor without one sharp word, though I did sometimes kick them under the bed. But as he basked in my appreciation, the piles became smaller."

    She borrowed a technique from a dolphin trainer at SeaWorld in San Diego, called least reinforcing syndrome.

    "When a dolphin does something wrong, the trainer doesn't respond in any way. He stands still for a few beats, careful not to look at the dolphin, and then returns to work. The idea is that any response, positive or negative, fuels a behaviour. If a behaviour provokes no response, it typically dies away," Sutherland wrote.

    She began ignoring her husband when he worked himself into a lather over lost keys. It worked. The drama cooled.

    She used diversionary tactics. To stop her husband from crowding her while she cooked, she'd put out chips and salsa, or a pile of parsley for him to chop at the other end of the kitchen.

    She dissected her own behaviour, considering how her actions might be fuelling his.

    "I think I started to think about him in a more objective way," she said in an interview with the Toronto Star. "I started to think: `Why does he do this,' and not: `Why is he trying to annoy me?' You start to realize: `I'm an individual, he's an individual, there's things that he just naturally likes to do that I think are ridiculous, but for some reason he's wired that way.' I was able to let a little more roll off my back than I used to."

    Sutherland said her husband, magazine editor Scott Sutherland, believes he got the better end of the deal because she no longer nags him.

    "He even said at one point: How do you know that I haven't trained you to stop nagging and to give me chips and salsa?"

    Sutherland would also be the first to admit that the techniques are nothing new. Psychologist B.F. Skinner introduced the idea of "operant conditioning," in 1938, demonstrating that behaviour is shaped by consequences. His research proved that rewards work better than punishment.

    The concept has taken firm root in the world of animal trainers. Although the idea of applying it to human behaviour is also nothing new, Sutherland's piece may be the first to make it palatable to such a wide audience.

    Since the story first appeared on June 25, Sutherland has fielded interview requests from Israel, Turkey, Colombia, Australia, Belgium and Germany. She's preparing a book proposal based on the column. Her film and book agents are negotiating with Hollywood for film rights.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    `Nagging is trying to change behaviour, yelling is trying to change behaviour'

    Writer Amy Sutherland

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    It's all a bit surprising to a freelance author and ardent animal lover whose last book, Cookoff, won prizes, but never made it past number 8,000 on Amazon.com's list of best-selling books. Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched: Life and Lessons at the World's Premier School for Exotic Animal Trainers recently climbed to number 154.

    The trainers at EATM couldn't be happier that their techniques have hit mainstream.

    "I think it's about time people actually realized that behaviour is behaviour and whether you're using it on an elephant or a badger or a husband or a son or a daughter, it's all of the same concepts that can be used," says Mara Rodriguez, an operations staffer.

    There has been outrage.

    "Of course, Amy Sutherland is entitled to a perfect husband, having apparently reached perfection in herself," Vito Stagliano of Chicago wrote in a letter to the Times.

    Others wrote to thank her.

    "With the American divorce rate where it is, `What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage,' by Amy Sutherland, could certainly be considered one of the most important, if not most useful, articles you have published all year. Thank you, I'm indebted!" wrote Sophie Sutton of New York.

    (Shamu was the name of the first baby killer whale to thrive in captivity and is the name of SeaWorld's orca show. Shamu isn't mentioned once in Sutherland's column.)

    The concepts can be applied to anyone, really. Toronto mom Nadine Silverthorne, whose 18-month-old son Nate has entered the temper tantrum stage, tried out some of the techniques described by Sutherland after a co-worker forwarded her a copy of the column. She applied the dolphin trainer's "least reinforcing syndrome," to Nate, with mixed success.

    "Whenever Nate throws a fit, I try not to look angry, nor do I smile at him," Silverthorne wrote in an email interview with the Star. "I focus on keeping my face as neutral as possible. Sometimes it works like a charm. Other times not so much."

    When it works, Nate calms down and makes cute faces and sounds to get the attention of his parents. Other times they cave in to his screaming because they're too tired or frustrated to prevail.

    "We aren't always consistent with the ignoring, as it's a new technique for us. But we're working it into our parenting repertoire," says Silverthorne, 32, an aspiring writer, whose blog, Martinis for Milk, details the travails of a new mom.

    Using positive reinforcement on her husband yielded better results. Silverthorne picked it up six years ago, after watching owners reward their dogs with treats for good behaviour.

    "Thanks SO MUCH for taking out the garbage," she began telling her husband, or, "It makes my day to come home to clean floors."

    It worked like a charm and even became a means of flirtation. "I explained the theory to him and suggested he should also use it on me. It has made things a lot less tense at home. There are fewer arguments about inconsequential, pet-peeve type issues."

    Karen Hirscheimer, a Toronto couples therapist, says that in a troubled marriage petty annoyances can become triggers for stored-up hard feelings. "A woman might complain about the pile of clothes that her husband has left on his side of the bed, but what she's really upset about is that she's been doing much more than her fair share of the work for years and years, so seeing that just reminds her of the inequality of the marriage."

    It's how such things get dealt with in a marriage that makes a difference, Hirscheimer says. Being harsh or negative can cause your partner to rebel at being undervalued, controlled or misunderstood.

    Sutherland, meanwhile, says she's not the first or the last to try to change her husband's behaviour.

    "One of the things people don't think about is they're trying to change each other's behaviour all the time already. Nagging is trying to change behaviour, yelling is trying to change behaviour. All I did was think about it consciously and go towards a positive, and start using a positive approach."

    http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/Con...2154&t=TS_Home
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

  2. #2
    Hit By Ban Bus! UndercoverGator's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Now with ADD added goodness!
    Posts
    6,601

    Default Re: Husband being a slob? Treat him like a trained seal.

    Oh where can I get a copy of her list?? I wonder if it works on spoiled mommas boys too?

  3. #3
    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    In WhoreLand fucking your MOM
    Posts
    55,359

    Default Re: Husband being a slob? Treat him like a trained seal.

    hmm no, those need to be dropped off in the northern wilderness with a hunting knife and be made to travel back 3 days to civilization.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

  4. #4
    Elite Member dakodas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    2,588

    Default Re: Husband being a slob? Treat him like a trained seal.

    My mother raised us this way. "Oh, I'm so proud!" she would say when we took a dish to the sink!

  5. #5
    Elite Member Chalet's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    15,597

    Default Re: Husband being a slob? Treat him like a trained seal.

    Nope. Sorry. This is why parents need to teach their kids to do things for themselves, independently. To learn how to take care of their home, their personal hygeine, without thinking someone is going to do it for them.

    That article is just putting another face on Wife as Mommy. A grown man does not need to be rewarded for such things. This kind of stuff makes me nuts. I'm so bored with hearing friends tell me how they treat their husband like their second child or a well trained pet.

    She used diversionary tactics. To stop her husband from crowding her while she cooked, she'd put out chips and salsa, or a pile of parsley for him to chop at the other end of the kitchen.

    That's how you treat an 8 year old when they are getting under your feet.

    I'm disgusted.

  6. #6
    Elite Member dakodas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    2,588

    Default Re: Husband being a slob? Treat him like a trained seal.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chalet
    Nope. Sorry. This is why parents need to teach their kids to do things for themselves, independently. To learn how to take care of their home, their personal hygeine, without thinking someone is going to do it for them.

    That article is just putting another face on Wife as Mommy. A grown man does not need to be rewarded for such things. This kind of stuff makes me nuts. I'm so bored with hearing friends tell me how they treat their husband like their second child or a well trained pet.

    She used diversionary tactics. To stop her husband from crowding her while she cooked, she'd put out chips and salsa, or a pile of parsley for him to chop at the other end of the kitchen.

    That's how you treat an 8 year old when they are getting under your feet.

    I'm disgusted.
    Are you married? Once you get the ring the very independent male becomes an infant. Just the facts...

  7. #7
    Elite Member Chalet's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    15,597

    Default Re: Husband being a slob? Treat him like a trained seal.

    I'm single never to marry. Any man that is lazy or spoiled wouldn't darken my doorway. They'd get the biggest eyeroll in the world. This is not to say that I'm not giving and loving. I'm quite the caregiver to many, however, I'm not a maid, cook or laundress unless it's by profession or that I simply want to.


    Men don't become infants with a wedding ring unless the person they're married to is treating them as such. It's also another tactic so the wife gets her way. It's a control thing.


  8. #8
    Hit By Ban Bus! pacific breeze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    in the wild blue yonder
    Posts
    15,479

    Default Re: Husband being a slob? Treat him like a trained seal.

    True enough, Chalet, but my husband, who's pretty good generally speaking around the house, will now WAIT for me to bring his plate of food to him. Just a few minutes ago he saw that I was preparing plates of cold food, he got himself a beer and went into the living room to watch BBC World. He walked past his plate and didn't hear (he is a bit deaf in one ear, but still) when I yelled for him to take his plate.

    When we met, he served me. Of course, he does bring me coffee and juice in bed every morning so I can't complain too much.

    It's up to mothers to teach their sons (and daughters) to fend for themselves because they sure won't be doing the women of the world a favour until they do.

  9. #9
    Elite Member Laurent's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Out There
    Posts
    39,139

    Default Re: Husband being a slob? Treat him like a trained seal.

    I agree with you, Chalet, and I've been told countless times that I'm "just too picky" for it.

  10. #10
    Hit By Ban Bus! pacific breeze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    in the wild blue yonder
    Posts
    15,479

    Default Re: Husband being a slob? Treat him like a trained seal.

    No, you're not, but it is surprising how easy it is to slip into traditional roles once you're married or in an LTR. We more or less divide chores unofficially -- there are some things he does like morning coffee and dessert (fruit) after dinner, the garbage, the cat litter, loading and unloading the dishwasher, his own laundry -- and things that I do (everything else).

    I hate it that so many of my students just leave their garbage and expect somebody else to clean it up for them. On the other hand, I've had the odd male student who was very well trained and when I ask, they always say that their mother works and in their house, everybody pulls their own weight. How it should be, even if nobody works.

  11. #11
    Elite Member Chalet's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    15,597

    Default Re: Husband being a slob? Treat him like a trained seal.

    It's basically about entitlement. If anyone "expects" it, I'd like to know how they got that way.

    Mother's do things for their children that no one else in the world would do for them. I think that's a beautiful thing. Now if 35 year old baby boy or girl expects the same treatment because that's the way it's always been for them, then they wouldn't want me.

    I adore cooking and serving my guests. No one is allowed to clean up. They are my guests. I'll always ask my honey if they need anything. Those are the sweet things in life.

    But treat them like a child? A trained pup? Never.

    It reminds me of how my friends husband turned all the child rearing over to her. He said he was no good at it and that she was better. Turns out he didn't want to, he was lazy. Nice handoff.

  12. #12
    Hit By Ban Bus! pacific breeze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    in the wild blue yonder
    Posts
    15,479

    Default Re: Husband being a slob? Treat him like a trained seal.

    Books like that appeal to the lowest common denominator -- that's why they're best sellers. Same kind of twaddle as The Rules, Men are from Mars... and all the rest of the sexist crap floating around out there.

    I am the same -- I don't let guests help. When I go to their house, they entertain me, and vice versa.

  13. #13
    Elite Member MsDark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Northwest MS/Memphis TN
    Posts
    32,712

    Default Re: Husband being a slob? Treat him like a trained seal.

    Husband a slob? Treat him like the pig that he is and mix that food all together in a slop bucket and serve it in a trough in the back yard! That'll show the fucker. If mine wanted to act like a little boy he'd be sleeping out there in a pup tent too!
    My Posts Have Won Awards. Can Any Of You Claim The Same? -ur_next_ex

    "I don't have pet peeves. I have major psychotic fucking hatreds, okay". ~George Carlin

  14. #14
    Elite Member Lobelia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    a backwards hillbilly state
    Posts
    20,800

    Default Re: Husband being a slob? Treat him like a trained seal.

    I think marriage is like a bank. You have debits & credits. My husband withdraws from his account by leaving his towels & underwear on the bathroom floor, leaving drawers open (makes me craaaaaazy), leaving crumbs on the counters, & other things. He credits his account by being sweet to me 99% of the time, doing all the clothing shopping & clothing care for our sons (including shoes & haircuts), spending countless hours weekly coaching our sons, & other things.

    Nobody's perfect, including husbands. Lord knows I debit my marriage account every day.

    That said, what this article is about reminds me of research done on similar techniques with children. Positive reinforcement works well on "normal" children with no major behavioral problems, who have good relationships (or at least ok) at home, etc. Kids who are really difficult to manage, whether it be due to mental illness or run-of-the-mill behavioral disorders, don't respond nearly as well to positive reinforcement alone.

    I wonder if this is true for husbands.
    "I've cautiously embraced jeggings"
    Emma Peel aka Pacific Breeze aka Wilde1 aka gogodancer aka maribou

    Yip, yip, yip in your tiny indignation. Bark furiously on, lady dog.

  15. #15
    Hit By Ban Bus! pacific breeze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    in the wild blue yonder
    Posts
    15,479

    Default Re: Husband being a slob? Treat him like a trained seal.

    My husband unit used to leave cupboard doors open until I nearly took my eye out once. Crumbs everywhere, yes. Coffee stains on the counter and drips down the cupboard doors, yes. Floor spills left unwiped because he says he can't "see" them, yes.

    But he does stuff to make up for all this so it's OK, most of the time. I, of course, am perfect.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Jennifer Aniston glad Vince Vaughn is a slob
    By mia981 in forum Gossip Archive
    Replies: 53
    Last Post: July 13th, 2006, 06:20 AM
  2. Replies: 38
    Last Post: June 19th, 2006, 08:43 AM
  3. Kevin Federline rewarded for being a slob
    By equallydivided in forum Gossip Archive
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: June 17th, 2006, 08:46 AM
  4. Evangeline Lilly trained as a flight attendant
    By MaryJane in forum Gossip Archive
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: April 5th, 2006, 05:51 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •