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An Experiment

May 17, 2011

Lately my kids have developed some bad habits that are starting to gnaw at me, so last night I thought we would try something new.  I told them I am going to mark down points for certain good behavior and whoever has the most by the end of the week wins a special date with me. 

The fun thing is, I’m not telling them exactly which behavior it is that’s bothering me the most and they’re going nuts trying to figure out what will earn them points.

“Mom, do I get a point for hugging you?”

“Maybe ……”

“Do we get points for going to bed quietly?”

“Maybe ……”

“Do we get points for not fighting?”

“Possibly.  I guess you’ll just have to be the best you can this week and hope you’re getting a lot of points!”

Next week they will discover that the most bothersome behaviors are:

1.  Ignoring me.

2.  Having to be told repeatedly to do something like brush their teeth (and they sometimes even lie and say they did when they didn’t).

3.  Having to remind them every day to hang up their backpacks and put their shoes away.  They end up in the middle of the living room floor every single day.

4.  When I say I need help, no one moves.

5.  When I ask a specific child for help, I get responses like, “Awwww!  Why do I have to do it?”

So, they will receive points for doing things after being told once, for not complaining when I ask for help, for doing things they shouldn’t even have to be told to do after years of reminders, and for volunteering to help me.

The other night I was making tacos and spent about 45 mintues frying up 5 pounds of still mostly frozen ground turkey.  I was tired and in pain, so I called out to the family, “I need some help!  I need cheese grated and tomatoes cut up.”  No one moved.  I repeated my request.  Nothing.  After I was done frying the meat, someone finally offered to help and they’re lucky because I was seriously about to wrap it up and go to my mom’s house by myself, leaving a note for them to make their own dinner. 

When I come home after being gone for a while, the first thing I hear is, “Hi!  What’s for dinner?”  It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

I really hope this experiment will cut down on this.

“OK kids, time to brush your teeth.”

“Brush your teeth please.”

“Brush your teeth.”



We’ll see.  :-D

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 1, 2011 8:50 pm

    That’s a very smart idea, you know! May I suggest that you also reward the children who made at least some effort, so that the whole experiment doesn’t turn into a one-winner competition?

    • June 2, 2011 11:34 am

      That’s a good idea! I confess, I’m taking advantage of their competitive nature in hopes it would improve things and then maybe hopefully they would see how much more pleasant our home is when everyone cooperates. It has made a big difference so far. I think after each of them wins once, I’ll start some smaller rewards for all of them.

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