Saturday, January 18, 2014

Bribing the Kids

Who agrees with this?
Just lately we've been having a few issues with our eldest's behaviour. He's not a bad kid or anything, but his attitude has not been what we would like recently. He's almost 6 so I get that a lot of it is his age, and exposure to other kids in school, and generally not being under our influence as much as he was when he was at home full time. And I don't want to come down on him like a ton of bricks or anything, but there are certain things I want to curb.

He seems to think everything should be handed to him on a plate, regardless of his lack of manners, appreciation, and gratitude. He thinks he should be able to have the latest toys and games just because he wants them, feels no need to do anything he is asked, interrupts other peoples conversations and shouts until he is heard, barges people out of his way, and (the one thing I will keep coming back to because it grates on me the most) seems to have totally lost the ability to say please or thank you. Any suggestion that he can't have exactly what he wants when he wants it, or insistence that he does as he is asked, results in a meltdown: screaming, shouting, stamping, sulking, storming off, door slamming etc. It like living with a surly teenager some days.

We do our best to set a good example, using manners ourselves and so on. He is not lacking in attention. As the only kid in our family who is currently in school "full time" we make sure he gets plenty of one-on-one time each day; he gets to stay up a bit later than his brothers to read with one of us or play a game with us. I make a point of asking about his day at school every day so we can have a nice conversation just us, and so on. Every other Saturday (when hubby isn't working) I'll take him out for the morning just him and me for a treat. You get the idea, I'm sure all of you with more than one kid do the same sort of things with each of them.

So... this is the plan. Instead of just handing our kids their £1 on a weekend (we're cheap in the Walker household!) they have to earn it!

Jack's money is tailored to him and what we are trying to achieve, it reinforces what we say to him daily (which must seem like nagging by now because he just tunes out). He "earns" 10p of his £1 for each day his behaviour is deemed acceptable, i.e. he's doing as he is asked without too much fuss, remembering his manners, not having tantrums (he's nearly 6, tantrums are not acceptable any more), not being a total giddy kipper on the walk home from school or trip out anywhere (he's gonna get hit by a car one day if he doesn't settle down!) On a Tuesday he does Jujitsu after school and getting him to calm down after his lesson and get changed is hard work. So he can earn 20p by being calm and getting changed without being nagged. He also gets 5p for each of his 3 class mates he is ready before (because he is just sooooo blooming slow, too busy being giddy and daft).

He has the chance to earn just a little more than his regular £1, but he's never quite managed it yet. We're actually giving him less pocket money and his behaviour is steadily improving. We're having fewer tantrums, his manners are slowly starting to return, and I haven't had a problem getting him home from school in a couple of weeks. Sadly Hubby and Nana haven't had the same results and he's lost his 10p on the days they've collected him from school... Not sure how to fix that yet.

As my kids get older I'll change the requirements (hopefully good manners etc will go back to being second nature) and as they want more money I'll start adding chores to the list of things they can earn money for, all age appropriate. Helping with the laundry, the dishwasher, in the garden, taking the bins out, etc.

The way I see it when they grow up they will have to work for their wages and not live off handouts. The harder they work the more money they could potentially earn, and upsetting their boss might mean no money at all if they lose their job be mouthing of or simply not doing the job required of them. And they'll learn some basic life skills in the process like cooking, housekeeping etc.

So, what do you think? Is this bribing my kids for good behaviour? Or teaching them a valuable life lesson?





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