Over the last few days, I’ve officially cried “uncle”. The level of disrespect in my household has reached Defcon 2. I’m ready to deploy.
My kids are good kids. They really are. But, like all kids, sometimes they need a reminder of who’s in charge and who makes the rules. That would be us…the parents. We rule the roost.
I know it’s summer. Everything is a little more lax. Bedtimes are later, I’m not as strict with screen times, and each day isn’t structured the same. But something needs to change. My kids seem to have developed a permanent attitude problem.
Last Friday, my seven year old made a big boo-boo. After I uttered a few loud phrases which included the classic “I’m so tired of doing everything around here and not being appreciated”, my son muttered something that equated to “no, you don’t”. That was it. I was done. I literally had to send myself to my room to ensure his safety (and mine). A few hours later, I had a moment with my daughter where she said “no” to my multiple requests and exuded more sass and attitude than I thought possible for a five year old, so she was carried to her room and dropped on her bed.
It hit the fan yesterday, after my son screamed like a crazy person at his father and lost all screen time through Friday. I read articles. I brainstormed. I asked other parents what they do. I was desperate.
Is this normal behavior? It can’t be. This is heinous. But yes, yes it is. I only know this because in reaching out to other parents for advice, I was met with a lot of MY KIDS TOO!!!
So here’s what I’ve done. I know that my children respond better to positive reinforcement vs punishments, so I created a little system where they earn things they like based on their behavior. I am focusing solely on being respectful and listening.
I made up a little Behavior Chart. Every day they have an opportunity to earn a sticker based on good behavior. If they get a sticker, they automatically earn screen time for the next day. No sticker, no screens. If they earn seven stickers in a row, then they get to go to the dollar bin at Target or the Dollar Store and pick something out. Once they hit 20 stars, they earn something “big”.
The big prize is determined by the individual kid. For the first one, my oldest is trying to earn a trip to the movie theater. My youngest is earning a family movie night, where she picks the movie, snacks etc. It’s an easy win for us if it motivates them to think before they speak and watch their behavior.
We also discussed how everyone has a bad day now and then. That’s why our reward is not based on 20 stickers in a row; just 20 period. It’s rare I have that many good days in a row, so I certainly don’t expect it from my kids.
So we’ll see what happens. Both kids seem excited about it and just this morning, my son started to yell at me about something and his sister goes “think about your chart, Bubba” and he stopped. SCORE!!!
I’d love to know what discipline and reward systems work in your house. All ideas are welcome at this point.