Friday, November 6, 2009

rewarding?

So, if your child seemingly enjoys the punishment, do you continue giving it? I know the answer seems blantantly obvious, but let me explain...

Laci thinks that she can talk her way out of anything. When she tries to "persuade" us that her actions are okay or that she shouldn't get in trouble, she doesn't know when to stop talking back. I try to keep punishment within the realm of the offense; for example, if she jumps on the couch or my bed, she doesn't get to sit on either the rest of the day. For talking back, she gets soap in her mouth, which she absolutely detests - but I really resent having to pin my child down to enforce it. So, I've been reviewing in my mind all the leverage I have against her - cartoons, playing with friends, even preschool and gymnastics (which I have taken away before). Then, a new idea came to me: give her extra jobs. Already she has her daily chores - make her bed, brush teeth, bath, etc. On a weekly basis, she vacuums her room and cleans the bathroom (with Mom's help, of course). Most of the time, she completes her daily chores cheerfully and without incident. She typically completes them within 15-20 minutes. Most of the time, she's really self-motivated. But, I also don't give her a huge "laundry list" of chores, either.

After deciding to give her extra jobs for talking back, I warned her at the beginning of the week that when she talked back she would get extra jobs, and that she would do them on Friday after completing her "big" (weekly) jobs. From Monday until today, she tallied a total of 10 extra jobs; (I was lenient). I made a list of things ranging from wiping down windowsills, baseboards, and kitchen cabinets to vacuuming and dusting various rooms in the house. She needed my help with the vacuuming, which I expected she would. But, I figured it would still be a punishment because it's in addition to and out of the ordinary from what I normally expect. And, aside from the vacuuming, she did everything else herself. When she completed one job, I told her what the next one was and told her how I expected it to be done, then checked it when she told me she was finished before moving onto the next job.

That girl! She cheerfully did every job and completed all 10 in less than an hour. All she had to say at the end of it was that "all this work is making me starving!" I'm not going to complain - her doing it saves me from having to do it later. But, now I'm wondering if it's even a punishment!

I'm appealling to moms everywhere: what do you think? And, how would you proceed?

4 comments:

Mariley Johnson said...

Discipline is HARD! I wish i had something that worked. Consistency i guess. One thing i think i have learned is that Jens responds better to rewards than punishment. So it is more of prevention than fixing. Make sense? But, i'm not consistent. So it doesn't alays work and there will always be times when i can prevent 'til we're blue in the face and Jens will still make mistakes. My goodness...so many gospel parallels here. Such is life.

Stacey said...

It is so hard, each child is different....my only concern with extra jobs is that it may seem like work is bad. Right now she loves it, and that is amazing, you don't want her to lose her love for work. I agree with the other comment, my kids do much better with rewards....

Lacey said...

I have no suggestions as we are dealing with the back talk in our home too. Like Mariley said consistency is huge and if you find that punishment isn't working trying rewards. We've never done it but marble jars and charts I've heard work great.

It's a constant battle and changes with age. GOOD LUCK!

Lara said...

This is exactly what I do with back talk. I just keep adding jobs until they stop. One day before school Bria earned 42 freaking jobs and I had a REALLY hard time coming up with things for her to do when she got home. My kids are generally cheerful when they are doing their punishments, but I think that's not a bad thing. By the time they are actually doing the work they have already gotten their act together a bit and are happier. And it does work. Bria didn't talk back for a really long time after the 42 job incident. :)

 

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