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  • Writer's pictureDale V Wayman, PhD

Getting Children to Pick Up Their Toys

This story about Adler's way of getting a 5-year-old to pick up his toys is told by Dr. Herbert Schaffer, President of the French Adlerian Society:

In Amsterdam, I was part of a scene which remains indelibly in my mind. We were invited to the home of Madame F., a banker's wife. We were to tour the town with her -- she was a friend of Dr. Adler's -- then go back for some refreshment. As we left, a little boy of about 5, no doubt her son, called goodbye to us.

When we got back, the floor of the living room where were to have tea was spread with toys. The little boy had taken out all that he had. It was impossible to take a step through the room. The woman, blushing and agitated, was ready to have a nervous attack. At that moment, Dr. Adler approached the boy, looked at him kindly and said, "You have spread your toys out well. Do you suppose you could gather them up just as well?" In less than a minute all the toys were back in their chest.

Taken from Alfred Adler: As We Remember Him, p.32.

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