Daughter wants rewards chart - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 12-14-2013, 08:09 PM - Thread Starter
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I have a lovely yet challenging nearly 6 y.o. daughter who is very headstrong.  She must do everything her very own way and will not follow my directions 9 times out of 10.  It is very exhausting and takes a lot of patience.  I try to see this as a positive thing.  She won't be a pushover as an adult.  But my role as her mom is to help her learn to navigate her strong fire and resistance.  



I need some ideas for how to help.  I'm getting more and more negative in my responses to her.  I really want to have a more positive way of guiding her.  This morning she suggested a rewards system and I'm not really enthusiastic about it. My parents tried to use positive incentives for good behavior and getting chores done, but I really disliked them. Today, as an adult, I feel like I want my children to learn internal motivation rather than doing things out of external motivations.  The trick is how to actually do that in a way that gets results.  


The problem is, I really don't feel like I'm anywhere near achieving that goal.  Instead, these days I'm yelling more and using negative consequences for difficult behavior.  


I'm single with sole custody and have a young toddler in addition to my older DD.  So, I find I just don't have the patience, energy, or time, to really give to the disciplinary issue that come up.  I just want results and I want them now!


So, I'm really falling short of where I want to be.  I'm starting to rethink the idea of using some sort of incentive system to get DD to shift her behavior in a more helpful direction.


What sparked this post is that this morning, out of no where, DD picked up her room (which she has never done on her own before), made her bed and offered to help me with my room and office tidying.  She was so positive and helpful! After that she suggested that perhaps we should get a treat for the work that we did. Not sure where she got the idea, but I sure did have a different child!


It got me thinking... if she really can work in such a positive and happy way because she is striving to get something she wants, maybe I should use that to create some sort of behavior chart to help encourage more of that.   At least the consequences would be positive rather than negative.


I still have a lot of hesitation, though.  I hate this sort of thing.  I've always expected that she will just do the things around the house (as well as listen to me) because that is what needs to be done.  I'm not sure it is helpful to learn to do something simply so that you can get a reward, rather than learning the joy of doing something just because it is the right thing to do.  But then I feel like I've really just been doing the other side of the coin in taking things away when something doesn't get done or she won't follow my directions.  So maybe use the positive rather than negative?


I'm curious what others think.  

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#2 of 7 Old 12-15-2013, 03:02 AM
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I always take a collaborative problem solving approach perspective 


so what are her concerns - a reward is solution to a problem or concern - what are her concerns ?

what are your concerns 


mutually satisfying solution -  1

make chores fun , incorporate the treat into the chore , so instead doing the chore and getting the treat , the chore becomes more fun

2 when rewards are self -determined meaning the kid decides and the parent is not using rewards to control , rewards are less of a problem - so I want my room and the home to be clean and tidy , but I need an incentive to help me meet my goal . Also if the rewards are not salient it is less problematic 


cps is great for parenting for cooperation, but not easy 

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#3 of 7 Old 12-15-2013, 11:01 PM
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I wouldn't do it if you don't like the idea of reward charts. I have tried a fee but tracking behavior is such a weird thing for me and goes against what I believe in so they never went as they are supposed to. Besides that we generally just do a fun thing or have a treat because that's what we want to.do so waiting until an.arbitrary number of stickers was up.felt very restrictive.

I had a lot of success getting through to my dd after she told me I sounded angry a lot lately. I told her how.frustrating it was to.have to repeat myself so much then in the moment stating that I was starting to feel frustrated like I needed to use an angry voice. It might seem like the connection between being ignored and feeling angry would be simple for a child to put together but a child's unhappiness with what is being asked of them can make it hard for them to notice their parents emotions until their parent gets verbally forceful. Talking about the reasons for your requests may also help your dd understand you aren't just asking her to do menial tasks for no.reason.
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#4 of 7 Old 12-16-2013, 06:50 AM
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As long as it is the child's idea, I don't see the problem with a reward system. You would not be manipulating your daughter; you would be giving her a tangible symbol of your appreciation. I love my job, and don't do it just "for the money", but I get a paycheck too. It feels good, and reminds me that my work is valued.

Rhu - mother,grandmother,daughter,sister,friend-foster,adoptive,and biological;not necessarily in that order. Some of it's magic, some of it's tragic, but I had a good life all the way (Jimmy Buffet)

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#5 of 7 Old 12-16-2013, 10:28 AM
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I think we can share the idea I love my work and that is really an ideal most of us want - to love and find meaning and purpose in what we do. We get paid once a month, so our minds are not on the money and this allows us to focus on the intrinsic value of what we are doing. Imho we feel appreciated by the way we are treated, our opinions are asked for and we can self direct our work. We need to be paid fairly but from the research 'money ' is well down the list why people choose to work in a certain place

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#6 of 7 Old 12-16-2013, 06:15 PM
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I would definitely honor and try her idea.  Sometimes we all need external motivation.  Just make it really specific and short in duration - "That's a great idea!  Let's try it for a week and see if it helps us remember to do x."  

-Ecstatic mommy to amazing DD, 2/07 :
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#7 of 7 Old 12-17-2013, 07:30 AM
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I've used rewards charts at various points in my parenting career. I've found that they usually work really well for a month or two, then they stop working. But that month or two is often enough time to reset bad habits. It's not manipulating her if it's her idea in the first place.


I would prefer to say "you do chores because you're part of the family, and you get allowance because you're part of the family." But sometimes it worked better to have a sticker chart and give the child $1 when the sticker chart was full. Once the household chores became routine, it worked well to stop tying chores to money and give the allowance as a simple allowance.


At one point, I was having some trouble with anger control issues, and one of my kids suggested a sticker chart for ME! I got a sticker every day I didn't yell at anybody (or was it one sticker for a shorter time period without yelling? Might have been 3 sticker zones per day.) We did that for about a week and I think the kids gave me a homemade gift at the end of it, or maybe I convinced them that the satisfaction of a full chart was motivation enough. It was a very long time ago, but it gave the kids a sense of control over the stress level in the house.

Ruth, single mommy to 3 quasi-adults
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