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In a trap of threats/bribes - they no longer work - how do we change now?

(10 Posts)
daisy2212 Wed 27-Apr-16 16:14:01

DS can be quite stubborn and refuse to do things - for me, but especially for my au pair.

We/she have got into a habit of 'I’ll take your Lego away. I’ll take the iPad away for a day/week/month. You can’t go on that playdate’.

We are at the point where the iPad has been banned for two months now but he doesn't really notice it.

Yesterday when he wouldn't get in the bath our au pair first took his Lego, then he still wouldn't come - so she took away a playdate with 2 friends - which is a big punishment - but he didn't seem that bothered (I also think it's a shame to stop him socialising at the age of 6 as a punishment).

We have run out of things to take away. And threatening to take things away doesn't seem to work anyway.

Got any advice?

megletthesecond Wed 27-Apr-16 16:17:29

No idea. Mine (9 & 7) don't care either. They even decided to stop having pocket money because they couldn't be bothered to behave hmm.

I do know other parents who are struggling with this. We are not alone!

Artioo2 Wed 27-Apr-16 19:12:46

It seems to me like throwing in the secondary harsher punishments (taking away the playdate when the Lego had already been taken away for the same reason) might be what's eroding your authority here. It's almost like you're undermining your own punishment, admitting it didn't work and wasn't serious enough by throwing in the second one. It's not surprising he's getting to the point where he doesn't care, he's already lost the Lego and the playdate, what more is there to lose? (To him!) You're painting yourself into a corner where you have nowhere to go next.

I would personally stop all threats and rewards if they're not working. Why didn't he want to get in the bath? Do you give him warning it's going to happen? Can you do it in a roundabout way to avoid the power struggle, get him interested, running the bath, putting in bubbles, that kind of thing?

Kariana Wed 27-Apr-16 19:28:11

I agree with Artioo. Taking away an entire playmate just for not getting in the bath seems very excessive and makes you/au pair look as if you aren't in control.

Also if he doesn't care it might be because so much has been taken away and he sees no way to get the things back. How about reversing the situation with an immediate earn back of something, e.g. "it's bath time in 5 minutes, if you get in sensibly and behave well you can have x minutes on the iPad afterwards".

daisy2212 Thu 28-Apr-16 09:19:53

That's a really good point about undermining our own punishment. Makes perfect sense - thank you. And thank you for your good suggestions.

Salmiak Thu 28-Apr-16 09:31:08

What about rewarding the good behaviour instead of punishing the bad so rather than 'get in the bath NOW or you can't have x' you could say 'I'm going up to run a bath, it will be ready will 5 minutes. If you're ready when the bath is full then I'll spend 15 minutes playing whatever game you want once you're clean' then get him involved in deciding what he wants to play together and make him excited about it.

If this works then at the end of the week take him out for a treat as he's been so good at listening/helping around the house/so kind to au pair/tried hard at school. Make him realise that good behaviour leads to fun and pick something else you want to work on for next weeks treat (it can be going for coffee and cake together /a trip to the pound store where he can pick out one thing/ a trip to a new big playground you don't normally visit)

FreeButtonBee Thu 28-Apr-16 11:32:20

I aim for natural consequences as much as possible. So with the bath I just pull the plug (and take it with me!) then leave the room. And the consequence would be linked directly to post bah time so no stories/bedtime tv etc. Needs to be immediately felt - play date is too far away.


daisy2212 Fri 29-Apr-16 09:52:02

@salmiak - i like the idea of getting him involved in thinking about what we'll do that's a reward. I tried it last night with brushing teeth and getting into bed - i said we'd have more time for the story and that if he does good listening all week we can go to the cinema together.

I've chatted to my au pair about taking things away and we have agreed to try this method - @aritoo2 it's right that we have lost control with it. And @kariana you're right - so much has been taken away it's become normal. We will stop using threats as he doesn't hear them any more.

Last night I didn't make any threats and he behaved quite well. There were a few times he resisted doing what I asked - getting into bed or brushing teeth - but I said we need him to do things right away and we can work towards a nice cinema trip - he listened well after that. It has coincided with him doing poor listening at school and messing around, I found out yesterday, so I will be talking to the teacher this week a lot to see if things improve there in line with at home - I usually find they do. We'll see! Any more tips welcome - your examples have been so helpful.

Artioo2 Fri 29-Apr-16 16:46:46

I think that's a really good way of handling the bedtime story. I would never threaten to take the story away as it's such an important part of a stable evening routine, not a reward, but I often use it as an incentive, 'come on, if you do it quick we'll have time for two chapters!' etc. etc.

Kariana Mon 02-May-16 09:39:35

That's great Daisy, I'm glad you got off to a good start! Sounds really positive so far.

How are you going to decide if his behaviour has improved enough for a cinema trip? He's bound to have a wobble at some point and it would be a shame for him to lose it over one or two incidents if he's much better the rest of the time. I'm not sure I have any advice on this one but I'm sure others can make suggestions.

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