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Does it always have to be about bribing? rewarding? why can't they just understand that this is the right thing to do?!

(33 Posts)
joburg Tue 04-Aug-09 10:28:19

We are ready to go on holiday to visit grandma and i just freek out thinking about the last time we were there, when DD (5 1/2 at that time) behaved like a monster. Nothing stoped her until i set the damn' chart in place and she could see the black dots instead of the damn' stars .... when is this going to end? when is it just gonna be 'i do this because it's the right thing to do' .... i know, i know, silly question, it's just that i feel so fed up with not being able to just explain things and instead having to 'buy' the good behavior with stars and so on ..... aaaaaarrrrgghhhhhhh! I'm fed up with those charts!
Am i doing something wrong here? DD is 6. Shouldn't she have started already some time ago to understand right from wrong? I am afraid she is already dependant on the little rewards and that i am using this reward system wrongly!

luckylady74 Tue 04-Aug-09 10:30:22

Have a read of 'How to talk so kids will listen' It's totally different from a reward type parenting and I think you'd like a change!

HumphreyCobbler Tue 04-Aug-09 10:33:05

Yes it is a really helpful book

have a look

Slubberdegullion Tue 04-Aug-09 10:36:18

Yes, I agree with the suggestion to read the How to Talk book.

ime the remard charts work best if they are used infrequently and you are trying to change a specific behaviour. I have used them once this year, and that was to encourage teeth cleaning and shoe putting on in the morning without me devolving into a shrieking harpy.

I'd ditch the charts, discuss with dd why, and try the HTT strategies.

joburg Tue 04-Aug-09 10:51:54

thank you moms, but before i buy it, could you please share some of the advices in there?
I tried a lot of reasoning things with DD (illustrated with practical consequences of her deeds) like if we take of the shirt first and only then brush the teeth, the shirt will not get stained. I tried showing her that after not wipping her bottom the favorite panties will be so dirty that we can't clean them anymore so with tears in her eyes she had to go putting them to the bin. I tried the emotional blackmail. I tried explaining to her that if she doesn't brush her teeth properly she will get pain. She got a tooth infection, cried, swore to me she will brush then 2 days later she forgot all about it ... I'm really curious about reading this book, but please share some thoughts until then!

Othersideofthechannel Tue 04-Aug-09 11:04:07

You might find 'unconditional parenting' by Alfie Kohn of interest too if you want to ditch rewards and for your child to be motivated because it is the right thing to do.

You do have to do a lot of reminding with children that age.

Slubberdegullion Tue 04-Aug-09 11:21:34

um, Oh gosh it's so long since I read it. I must dig it out again.

It's about how to communicate with your child so that you don't have to do the reward or punishment phase, sort of how to motivate them to do the right thing, without banging on and on about doing the right thing, or being naughty.

There are lots of threads about it in the archives if you do a search.

So with the tooth brushing without shirt on some of the strategies might be writing a note (from the shirt) saying

"wah, yoinks! I don't like being covered in toothbrush dribble"

Oh hell I'm explaining this REALLY badly, sorry blush

joburg Wed 05-Aug-09 11:06:02

DD, doesn't read yet hmm, she also has a very 'developed' skill of ignoring all that is unconfortable for her (so all those 'lecturing' pictures that hang around in the bathroom, on the fridge, in her room, she would just simply ignore). This morning, after smelling a strange thing in her room for 2 days, i discovered her soking wet pampers hidden deep under the bed. Now, how to talk to her so she can understand this? A few days ago i found food hidden in the flower pot, warms were coming out already. She broke the toilet paper holder out of the wall so badly that we need to replace the tiles around it, now she is doing the same with the towel holder. How on earth do you talk to kids so they would listen????? .... grin The book is out of stock in our book shops but will try to order it from amazon

Othersideofthechannel Wed 05-Aug-09 11:34:58

Joburg, how many children have you got? It sounds like she needs closer supervision. Maybe your are allowing her to be too independent?

I've got a 6 yr old in night time nappies and I always manage to check the nappy has been disposed of correctly upon removal otherwise I know we'd end up with strange smells in the bedroom here too. I'm not necessarily there when it is removed but I'll check whether it is in the bin before leaving for work each day.

I hope that doesn't sound smug. I've only got two children so it's easy to find the time for that.

My point is that as a parent you know the things your childs is lazy about and the 'rules' (like don't hang on the towel rail) that they like to trangsress, so until that phase is over, you need to be present during the relevant moments to remind her of what needs to be done.

Othersideofthechannel Wed 05-Aug-09 11:36:51

DS is only just starting to read but we use another tip from the 'how to talk' book which is making up rhymes.

Eg All four chair legs on the floor if you don't want to end up sore.

Saying a rhymes comes across as less nagging and they like to remember them more than 'stop rocking on your chair!'

joburg Wed 05-Aug-09 12:07:51

Othersideofthechannel, i only got DD, and yes, i already see the smile on your face i do know what you mean (closer supervision), but the thing is that DD wouldn't do anything at all if it's not about rewards. As soon as we talk stars and the like, she shows she is responsible enough for those little things she is supposed to do. Otherwise, not a chance. Now my doubt here is, since she is 6, is it too early to expect her to understand that cleaning herself or her room (little bits, no perfection asked) is smth she needs to do for other reasons and not for a stupid star? Shouldn't she little by little start to act for the right reason? From time to time and in small doses? I'm not absurd and not asking for heaven on earth just a bit of her starting to understand ... The nappy thing was just one in a milion others

Slubberdegullion Wed 05-Aug-09 12:14:31

wrt to the note, it doesn't matter that she can't read it. You stick it on when she is not looking and then when she spots it she'll come and ask what it says, then you have to be all suprised and

"goodness me, what is this??? It appears to be a little letter from your clothes...this is BONKERS isn't it.. I wonder what it says....hmm your top doesn't like toothbrushy dribble on it.. well that's a bit strange isn't it? I wonder why"

And then you get her to work out why having a mucky top isn't so great.

The book does make you do all sorts of wanky things, and you have to use your imagination a bit, which is quite tiresome, but it does work.

Othersideofthechannel Wed 05-Aug-09 12:17:58

6 is definitely not too young to understand that she needs to do some things for the right reasons.

I don't expect my DCs to clean their room but I do expect it to be tidy when it needs to be cleaned.

And leaving nappies lying around is unhygienic. A 6 year old (without learning difficulties) should understand that.

Othersideofthechannel Wed 05-Aug-09 12:20:02

But I don't expect DS to remember these things consistently. I do expect him to put his nappy in the bin when I remind him (or with about 15 minutes).

thehairybabysmum Wed 05-Aug-09 12:38:05

I agree with the other posters re the book. I do think though that at 5 you should still help her to brush teeth. It is quite a difficult job to do correctly and IMO she shouldnt be doing on her own if she is having teeth trouble.

joburg Wed 05-Aug-09 12:51:32

now, here we come to my problem, DD is very good at remebering things if promised a reward but would not give a damn if i just ask her to do it for whatever other reason. This has been my question from the very begininng. We do have some difficulties (still checking so not yet sure where DD is really), but can i really blame everything on them?

Slubberdegullion, it's been ages since i tried this kind of things with DD, stories, playing with our toys, illustrating things in different ways, on paper or verbally, DD just doesn't seem to pay attention/remeber/care. Things just don't seem to impress her. We tried telling her she makes other ppl uppset..., it's a shame..., the crocodile friend feels unconfortable about it..., Cindirrela does it this way, etc, etc .... it doesn't seem to matter to her! Why???????

BonsoirAnna Wed 05-Aug-09 12:55:21

LOL! It is the work of a lifetime to understand fully "what is the right thing to do" and to develop a proper sense of empathy and justice.

I think you have to start very young!

FairyMum Wed 05-Aug-09 13:01:26

By using reward/star charts constantly you are creating a monster. A child who will only do something to get something in return. I think its actually preventing her from developing into what you would like.

BonsoirAnna Wed 05-Aug-09 13:03:17

I don't like star charts, but if you make the reward the proper outcome of the desired behaviour, that is a great way to instil in a child the right thing to do.

Othersideofthechannel Wed 05-Aug-09 13:03:19

If you want to move away from rewards (which IMO is a good move) you have to accept that she will need time to adjust.

Slubberdegullion Wed 05-Aug-09 13:03:34

joburg, I think even if you are talking to her about people's feeling being hurt etc it's still a behavioural method, you know stick or carrot. Telling a 6 year old about people feeling sad is quite a small stick compared with the giant carrot of a sweetie.

By the sound of it she (and you) have become so fixated on positive rewards (or negative punishments) being the automatic outcome for everything that you've both kind of got stuck in a rut.

It's really, really hard as Anna says.

Seriously I would scrap all the charts, and bribes and everything. Go completely cold turkey. It will be pretty awful I'm sure for a bit, but if you've read the HTT book before you'll have some alternative strategies on how to deal with things.

Slubberdegullion Wed 05-Aug-09 13:07:33

One of the best HTT threads.

Quite a lot of the ideas in there, and it's a really funny thread too.


joburg Wed 05-Aug-09 13:18:15

Thank you Mums, i thought so, too .... stars charts give me the freaks, i feard it for some time already .... but then, what else to do?????? I promise I will try to get the book and read it, but other than that? If it is not about the star charts, it's repeating and repeating and shouting after reminding DD for the 10th time and things still don't get done!

BonsoirAnna, please explain more in depth what did you mean? 'but if you make the reward the proper outcome of the desired behaviour, that is a great way to instil in a child the right thing to do' How?

Othersideofthechannel, i do want to get rid of the rewards, but then, how do i motivate DD to do all those 'horrible' things like tidying up, cleaning herself etc?

BonsoirAnna Wed 05-Aug-09 13:23:51

Well, yesterday DD (4.9) was in the multi-activity playground at the Jardin du Luxembourg. At one point, a very fat (obese) little girl walked past - this is very unusual here in Paris - and I saw DD look at her quizzically, but said nothing.

When we got home later that day, DD wanted a snack. I gave her two small biscuits and a drink. She came back 15 minutes later and asked for 2 more biscuits. I said no - and when she asked again, I asked whether she remembered the overweight little girl from the playground. DD smiled and put her arms out and said "Oh yes, she was HUGE", and I replied - yes, because she eats too many sweets, cakes and biscuits, and hamburgers and chips! And if you do, you will get fat too, and you wouldn't like that." And DD smiled and said "Lollipops, too." (She had nagged me for a lollipop the previous day).

And she didn't ask again. She is beginning to understand that if you eat too many sugary and fat things she will get fat. Staying slim is her reward.

alardi Wed 05-Aug-09 13:30:13

If DS had been in that convo, BonsoirA, he would have argued
"But I'm not fat mummy, so I can have as many lollies as I like!!"
And what am I going to do, tell him the truth that he is a bit of a porker? Real no-winner, that angle.

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