First I started responding to Bug's frequent "But..." sentences with the declaration that I did not want to discuss his bum/bottom/tushie. He'd giggle and I could avoid having to respond to his excuses. I hoped it would help him see just how often he used the word. Maybe it helped, but (BUT!) not enough.
We tried offering arguments for 25¢. As in, "I will have that argument with you for 25¢. It helped too, but (BUT!) it required stamina and vigilance on the part of the adult. That tends to fade after time. I can stick with something pretty well for a while, but some are harder than others.
Right now we have a Heart Chart. Five good getting-ready-for-school-mornings and they can earn ice cream after dinner. Our mornings have been better, however I put this in effect just before Halloween and the filled candy jar makes ice cream less of a draw now.
I'm not thrilled with using sweets as rewards. They work, as does money, but they aren't my favorites. So I'm going to use a combination this time and see if we can blast these bad habits away.
1) We'll continue with the heart chart in the mornings.
2) We'll go back to selling 25¢ arguments.
3) We will start dinner with a statement of thankfulness from each child concerning his sibling. What has your brother done today that makes you thankful that he's your brother?
4) I have decided that they will each choose an after dinner reward for their brother based on the way he was treated during the day. In other words, if your brother has treated you well, give him candy for dessert. If he's behaved in other ways, there are options varying from fruit to eggplant which are also available.
When I explained my ideas they were met with "But if we have an argument with you and we win, do we get our money back?" <