Thursday, 19 September 2013


I would say that in general my parenting style involves lots of love, lots of shouting, lots of bribery and the occassional threat.  Mostly we muddle through and it works well enough, and then occassionally I decide it's time for another bash at 'Incentives' - usually following a meltdown on my part.

This weekend I reached breaking point with my six year old.  Mr J was consistently refusing to do as he was asked, requiring an escalation of requests to shouts to threats (which includes putting a note on the wall to remind me he isn't to get any treats for the next day).  Eventually he did whatever it was I had wanted him to do, but I was exhausted and he was sullen.  There is a scary moment at these times when I realise I am loosing control.  If someone chooses not to do something, even despite punishment, what can you do to make them?

My solution is to wait until things are calm and we are not in confrontation and to talk to him (or whichever child is in conflict at the time).  And this is usually when I come up with my 'cunning plan'.  In my experience Incentives (based on star charts or coins in a jar etc.) do not work over long periods, but for adjusting attitudes and behaviour by making my children look at their actions in the short term - with the aim of longer term change - they can be wonderfully effective.

The Incentive this time is quite simple.  If the children do as they are asked the first time, they will get a star.  The one with the most stars (with a minimum required!) will get to choose a treat, which they will all enjoy (assuming minimum levels have been reached).  So far, with the occassional challenging moment (let's not talk about last night...) they have been doing really well, especially Mr J.  A gentle reminder that he is expected to do as he's told first time is enough to get him to get dressed, cross the road, put his coat on, give his sisters something back, stop kicking the ball indoors (you see I'm not unreasonable in my requests) and the house is much more tranquil for it.

This morning, off his own back, he decided to look after Miss I as we walked to the bus stop, even though normally he would be racing his other sisters, insisting on being first.  "Will I get a star for this, Mummy?" he asked when I praised him.  "Of course you will," said with a smile.  "You are being very grown up."  Thank goodness Miss I hadn't objected to him holding her hand like she would normally!

Ethans Escapades


  1. Isn't it lovely when something you have put in place works. I think I need to start a reward chart :0)

    Thanks for linking up with Small Steps Amazing Achievements :0)

    1. He's done so well all week, and then this morning things went a little upside down when he was asked to apologise - stubborness asserting itself again! Trying again this week.

  2. Fab and well done for sticking with it :) Is it easier when there's a group? Seems that way at school - peer pressure can make or break a situation ;)

    1. The competition between the three eldest does keep them trying... Unfortunately J had a meltdown on Monday morning about having to say sorry, and kind of lost all ground. However, he's made it back again today and has been a lovely boy!


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