I have a 5 y/o DD & almost 9 y/o DD. we had a huge issue with talking back, anger, and plain old misery with our 8 y/o. She has anxiety issues, which with lots of hard work this year is getting much better. But I was at my wit's end how to teach my children to respect my DH & I as parents, and to respect authority. My DH's niece is a teacher, and she suggested a reward system. We've had a system in place for a few months now, and I have to say, my house is a MUCH calmer, loving home.
The first thing we did together, as a family, was make house rules. They are:
1. Treat everyone the way that you want to be treated.
2. Treat everyone with love, kindness and respect.
3. Talk kindly to each other in a kind tone.
We wrote them down, we all signed it, and it hangs in our front entrance way. It works like MAGIC!! When my of my kids are mad and start yelling, I simply ask them "are you speaking to me kindly right now? Would you like me to speak to you like you're speaking to me?" The answer is always no, and I find the house rules are quite effective at diffusing situations. I like that my kids helped write the rules, and that by signing them, they take responsibility in following them. My DH and I also follow these rules, and trust me, my kids will always call us out if one of us raises our voices! LOL
For the reward system, we've simply put into place a green card, yellow card, red card system. You start the day always with a green card. If you don't follow house rules, you get a warning; do it again you get a yellow card. Once you have yellow, if you do something again, ie talkback or yelling, you get red carded for the day. We have an absolute no hitting or hurting rule in our house, so if you do, it's an automatic red card, no warnings or second chances. We're trying to teach our kids to resolve issues with words, not fighting.
If at the end of the day you have a green or yellow card, you earn a bead. My kids put their earned beads into a jar; once they've earned 10 beads, they earn a reward of their choice. We've had rewards such as sushi lunch at school, a pair of earrings from Claire's to a movie date with mama. This system has worked so well for us. My house is a much different environment than it was 6 months ago....call it bribery if you will, but I call it peace.