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reward charts, pasta pots... ways to get stubborn dc's to behave and do as they are told??

(11 Posts)
Meglet Fri 17-Jun-11 16:40:26

I am desperately trying to get 4.6yo DS to do as he is told, and failing. He can do all the things I need him to do, get dressed / undressed quickly, flannel wash himself in the bath, put toys away, get shoes on etc. But I'm at my wits end trying to get him to do them for me, he tore up the reward charts and we are now on the pasta pots (he has a plastic tumbler and gets a piece of dried pasta in it for doing as he is asked or for doing something lovely and helpful without being asked - positive reinforcement I think? He knows he gets his much wanted new tape measure when it is full up).

It has taken 3 weeks and he still hasn't done enough to fill one little tumbler. I give him loads of chances every day to add to the pot but most of the time he huffs off, yells, tantrums and refuses to do it sad.

Is he too young or have I got a particularly stubborn small person on my hands. He is very hard work for me, his little sister is a handful but behaves 'normally' and she will do things for rewards.

To be honest I am scared stiff about school starting in september as DS has got to start doing as he's told, he's good at nursery but not for me and I'm worried he will kick off at school when there are less adults around.

SquishyCinnamonSwirls Fri 17-Jun-11 16:55:08

Maybe the goal is too far away for him to "get". You could break it down into smaller rewards so he can earn them quicker and get into understanding the concept of earning treats.
He is definitely not too young to learn and is possibly just stubborn and learning that he can control certain situations with his behaviour.
Don't worry about school, they will handle him easily! They are used to far worse. smile
Oh and "he tore up the rewards charts"???!!! Put them up higher! Use them with your other dc too and let him see her receiving praise and rewards for doing whatever it is you require.

Llanarth Fri 17-Jun-11 17:06:47

Sorry no advice (my DS is younger) but just wanted to say how sweet it is your DS most wants a tape measure!

Meglet Fri 17-Jun-11 17:18:41

Right, plan of action. More pasta pieces this weekend to finally fill the damn thing up so he knows he gets a reward (I've already bought the tape measure, DD is getting a hello kitty hairbrush).

I had the reward charts where he could see them easily so he knew how well he was doing, unfortunately that meant they were an easy target when he had a tantrum.

TBH I think he does smell my fear so uses that to keep pushing me. I so want him to settle into school well and not muck about. I need to chill out a bit I think blush.

jubilee10 Fri 17-Jun-11 20:07:58

I have 3 ds's 15,13 and 4.11. The youngest can be quite trying at the moment (but the others were too) and I pick my battles very carefully. I only react when really necessary. I ignore most bad behaviour, tantrums etc but will not accept hitting, answering back or being rude. Occasionally dh will remark that he will grow up to be a little monster if I "let him get away with things" however I point out that his brothers were exactly the same and I don't have any problems with them now. Most of his bad behaviour is to get a reaction from me and if he doesn't get it he stops.

Don't worry about school. they will be used to much worse!

SybilBeddows Fri 17-Jun-11 20:19:54

I would be stricter actually - naughty step/time out rather than reward charts.

If you follow through with a punishment they hate, you don't have to do it very often before they see that you mean it.

We had one memorable time when dd was told 'If you carry on behaving like this you won't get a treat when everyone else does' and we had to follow through and all sat there eating our ice creams and she didn't get one shock

the value of that one time turned out to have been immense because she and ds1 just have to be reminded of the time dd didn't get an ice cream. We never had to do it again.

coproxamol Fri 17-Jun-11 22:43:08

If he has to wait 3 weeks for a reward no wonder he's lost interest!
You have to make it attainable, give him more pieces for a start...one each time is no good.
Mine get 2 pieces for say hanging coat up and putting shoes away into cupboard. 3 pieces for having a bath when I ask, if I have to remind them 15 mins later they get 2, if after another 10 mins they have not complied, they get none. If they tidy their rooms they get 5 pieces, or if they want me to do it I get the 5 pieces instead of them. It's all about giving them the choice to earn more pieces.
If I notice them playing nicely together with no arguing for say 30 mins, I let them know that I have noticed this and give them a 5 pieces each bonus.

You have to work out how many pieces they can normally earn in a week, such as 50 pieces, then either get a smaller jar or mark a lne on it that is level wth roughly that amount, IYSWIM.
Asking him to fill a jar when he only gets 1 piece each time and it's taken him 3 weeks is just too much hard work with little or no reward.
My DS can earn around 50 pieces per week, which then becomes £5.00, but you have to decide on the reward between you and DC.

tethersend Fri 17-Jun-11 22:48:12

"But I'm at my wits end trying to get him to do them for me"

I think this is one of the issues. He should be doing them for him, not you grin

Change your language from "do x for me" to "you need to do x"- otherwise the poor kid is constantly being asked to do you a favour, which can be quite stressful!

Also agree with shortening the reward schedule. I would choose one or two behaviours you want to increase/encourage and focus on those. More than that can get very confusing for both of you.

In short, I would tear up the reward chard, eat the pasta and start from scratch. You need to wink

coproxamol Fri 17-Jun-11 22:56:03

Also, as this method is intended to modify children's behaviour, it can take quite a few weeks for the behaviour you want to see more of, ie, cleaning their rooms, putting shoes away, brushing their teeth, to actually become second nature to them.
Eventually, they should (in theory) have gotten into the habit of doing these things without really thinking about it, they will just do it.

SarkyLady Fri 17-Jun-11 23:04:25

My break through moment was realising that my dc have no understanding if the word "now"

"Put your shoes on now" ... nothing

"Put your shoes on by the time I count to 15" ... smug child showing off that he can do it by 10.

Tgger Fri 17-Jun-11 23:10:34

Hello, just wanted to empathise, also have a DS who is 4.6 who kicks off big time with me in particular.

I am trying to break the patterns we have got into. This includes becoming super calm Mummy who is strict when she needs to be and deals with the worst behaviour calmly and confidently (ho ho!).

I am starting a happy face/sad face sticker chart- not sure how the rewards/punishment thing will go, me and DH will work this out this weekend, but for me it's mostly to avoid the big kick off moments which I think at this age shouldn't be happening everyday grin.

I also got DS on board with the chart telling him that he needed to improve his behaviour and that this was for Mummy to help him improve it, so I am recording when he is very good (eg uses his cutlery!!) or does bad behaviour (particularly "explosions").

It's very early days but so far it's going well. He really doesn't like having a sad face on the chart so that's good!!

I am not worried about school. DS has always reserved his worst behaviour for me and is very controlled in school (nursery) environments. I think this is part of the problem at this age, it's hard for them to have to behave well at nursery so they kick off at home (my theory anyway!).

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