I have a daughter who is very, VERY logical. The only time she is not logical is when she is having a nuclear melt-down...and when she recovers, she valiantly tries to explain exactly WHY she was so angry at us. (She's 5, taught herself to read, wouldn't talk till she was 3 1/2 and could do it perfectly...she's the full package.)
For her, reward systems work very well. A few we've used with good success:
- A marble for every good deed, a marble lost for every bad one.
- A collection of magnets on the refrigerator- 15 minutes of "screen time" cost 1 magnet. (That was a favorite, because she could move them herself)
- Our current favorite, she gets 10 marbles a day and can decide if she wants to spend them on tantrums, sassing her parents, and bossing her sister...or on extra stories and songs at bed time, a round of video games with her Dad, or exchange her marbles for coins to take to the grocery store. She can keep her marbles leftover at the end of the day until they're spent...however she chooses to spend them.
Reward systems for our small one? Not quite two? It's a simpler affair: I ask her to do something, and if she says no, she has until the count of five before I do it myself! For her, there's no worse consequence.
I think that's the key with children and "reward" systems. I am not choosing to reward my kids, OR punish my kids. There is a set of guidelines, with requirements and consequences, and we follow those day in and day out. Believe me, I've BEEN in that mental place when you're staring in disbelief at your young kid (OK, 4 in this case) who has peed on the floor in front of the toilet, AGAIN, and is gaily stomping around singing "Bath Time! Bath Time!" and you're thinking "oh...my....heck....I just want to make you feel SO BAD for the work you just caused me!"
But they don't get it, and they WON'T get it. Little children, while amazing and talented, simply aren't equipped to feel grief at things that don't touch them. There are exceptions, yes. Children pick up on our moods as they learn to cope with the world around them and learn to watch us for social cues as to how to react to certain situations. Children are empathetic and bright and wonderful. But can a 2-year-old actually feel bad about throwing an entire bowl of spaghetti against the wall? Umm...no. No, they're pretty pleased that they were able to do something so SPECTACULAR, that your muttering and glaring pretty much goes un-noticed as they mentally do a touch down dance. "Did you see that? DID YOU? Look how far it went! I am the MAN!"
The farther I get into this mothering gig, the more in awe I am of our Heavenly Father, and the more I try to be like Him. Does He love us? Infinitely. Does He want us to succeed? Always. Does He punish us? Never. We do that ourselves, with our choices and the consequences that follow.
Photo Credits: Me
Photo Credits: Me