reward system
0 comment Saturday, April 12, 2014 |
Reward systems do not work with children like mine. All the Star Charts and stuff, children like mine do not have the intrinsic wish to do well and so they don't work. Instead, my children instincts are to manipulate and sabotage. They don't think they can do well, maybe they don't think they deserve to do well, and so they set out to prove that. They also do not like any exertion of control over them, and will fight it, even if it means them missing out on stuff. Much better to thwart the adult than trust them.
However. Son's casual attitude towards the aggression he thrusts upon his family as and when he feels like it, is not something that can be left. He's not doing stuff in a complete rage anymore. He's making a choice. I don't mean to say that he's a horrible child, I just mean to say that he's decided to tackle life in a horrible way, and as he has said a few times... there's nothing I can do about it.
Well, that may be so. But I have to show him some authority, I have to provide some boundaries. Threats do not work. There is no punishment I can threaten him with that beats anything his birth parents did to him. He isn't scared of me and never will be. Not that threats and punishment are my style anyway. I have a kind nature and intend to use that as best I can.
And so, I have set up a 'system' of reward for every day when he doesn't Scream, Hurt Anyone, Back Chat or Break/Rip Anything. There are also rewards for expressing bad feeling's in a safe way, which are Use Your Words, Have A Strop, Take Time Out and Cry. The system allows him to win "smiley faces", which he can accumulate to get certain privileges. The idea is that he doesn't get punished for being horrible, but if he wants certain nice things in his life then he has to earn them through his behaviour, but also that he is allowed to express Bad Feelings in a safe way. No one around here wants kids who are expected to keep it all in.
Daughter has been included in this too, though she hardly needs it. She's doing fine.
The first week worked like a dream. It went pear-shaped at the end of week two, with Son acting like the list of things not to do was more of a target to achieve. Then week three started off badly because Daughter deliberately wound up Son so that he would lose his smiley face. I struck her off, so that she can't earn anything at all this week. Hopefully that will stop her doing that again.
I don't know how long it will last, or how many times the kids will try and sabotage it, but at the moment it's all we've got. I'm pretty sure that the wish to earn a smiley face because he really wants me to do something for him this weekend, was the thing that kept Son in check last night and stopped his awkwardness from turning into nastiness.
It's the only thing I've got for school pick-up today. Friday's are the day Son always really kicks-off and the only thing I've got to stop him is to remind him to earn his smiley face.
My hope is that if he can get into the habit of expressing his Bad Feelings in safe ways, and even practice being happy, then this will become his normal state, and the nasty stuff will eventually fall out of use.
You've got to try, haven't you?