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Parents who dislike sticker charts... wwyd if your dc asked for one?

(22 Posts)
Aranea Tue 28-Jul-09 19:42:47

I'm not really a UP parent but I do dislike sticker charts and reward/punishment systems. I seem to be badly mismatched with DD1 though!

When she was a toddler she used to insist on taking herself off 'to the naughty step', despite my protesting that our house had no naughty step.

She's now 4.7 and we have just had a chat. She says I get cross too much. I asked what about, and she says it's mostly when I've asked her to do something and she doesn't do it. She claims that she would get around to it on her own and that I have no need to get cross hmm. So I explained that very often I need her to do things faster, and asked her how she thought I could achieve that without getting cross. Initially she suggested that I should just sort her baby sister out and leave her to it, but when I rejected that she suggested that she should have a sticker chart to reward her good behaviour. She says that if she has a chart and gets a sticker for doing as she is asked, and (her addition) not pulling her sister around, she will always be good.

I asked where she had got the idea from, and whether she knew anyone with a chart like that, and she looked very pleased with herself and insisted that no-one she knows has one and that it was entirely her own invention.

So.... what would you do??? I really don't like sticker charts!

thisisyesterday Tue 28-Jul-09 19:46:45

i would probably say i didn't think it's a very good idea because she ought to do as she is asked without getting a sticker. but that if she would like some stickers she can have some and if she wants to make a chart that's up to her!
but no, i don't think i would implement it

Aranea Tue 28-Jul-09 19:55:51

I suppose the problem is that I do feel bad about getting cross with her. So part of me wonders whether it might work and stop me shouting when she completely ignores me and takes forever to do things.

I felt awful when she said I got cross too much and that I got cross about things I needn't. Apparently DH gets cross about the right amount.

Fillyjonk Tue 28-Jul-09 20:21:18

lol my ds is a bit like this and I am pretty UP. Though not entirely, because unlike Alfie Kohn I have 3 kids close in age hmm

I have used sticker charts for myself to motivate myself to practice/study/go for a run etc. I think it can be quite helpful, actually, to have something little to work towards, like a star. Its about doing a little every day even when I really can't be arsed. Its also about setting up a habit, or readjusting the norms.

I think its FINE to use them as a self-motivating tool, as a little reminder or thing to work towards. I'd get her to take responsibility for setting up the chart though.

Aranea Tue 28-Jul-09 20:29:34

I would be more comfortable with it as a motivating tool do actively achieve something daily.

But one of the things that bother me about her suggestion is the idea of using it to focus entirely on negative behaviours. I partly dislike it because I think she should be listening to me and not yanking her sister around just as part of being a nice member of the family, and partly I dislike it because I wonder whether it will make her feel that she is the sort of person who is likely to do quite specific things wrong.

OTOH as I say, something is clearly wrong with how I'm handling it at the moment in any case!

I'm going round in circles here...

HuffwardlyRouge Tue 28-Jul-09 20:36:56

I think in this situation I would let her have one, but be lead by her about it and wouldn't make a big deal of it at all. Let her have a sticker when she feels she has earned one and brings it up. Let her stick it on herself.

It sounds like you had a great chat, and I think it would be positive for her to see you taking her suggestion on board.

Your dd sounds like mine. My dd begs me for a naughty step! When some friends were visiting and one of their children was put "in the naughty corner" in the hall dd was thrilled and exclaimed with breathless excitement that we did have a naughty spot after all! She occasionally takes herself off there now when she feels she deserves it.

HuffwardlyRouge Tue 28-Jul-09 20:37:57

Led by her. Is there an A in the past tense of the verb to lead?

thisisyesterday Tue 28-Jul-09 20:42:20

huffwardly that made me smile lol, bless your dd taking herself off to the naughty spot

Aranea Tue 28-Jul-09 21:07:46

Oh, Huffwardly, she sounds exactly like mine! I've often wondered what to do while dd sits herself on the naughty step 'to think about what she's done'!

Maybe that's the solution - to let her take charge of the chart! I wonder if it would work. I'll give it a go and see what happens. I have a feeling I will just end up getting cross again though...

franklymydear Tue 28-Jul-09 21:09:23

what's wrong with sticker charts?

franklymydear Tue 28-Jul-09 21:10:03

what's UP and who's Alfie Kohn?

<obviously on the wrong thread>

Fillyjonk Tue 28-Jul-09 21:23:21

I wonder if there is another way to look at it though, that she is trying to change her perception of herself and this is a tool to do it with? Does that make any sense? It seems that she wants to change her behaviour and perhaps this is a way to help her focus?

"I suppose the problem is that I do feel bad about getting cross with her. So part of me wonders whether it might work and stop me shouting when she completely ignores me and takes forever to do things."

My son (5) is exactly like this, he does everything at his own pace. It is SO frustrating! (I have 3, he is the oldest)

PortAndLemon Tue 28-Jul-09 21:29:14

As far as I can tell, Alfie Kohn would let her do things at her own snail-like pace. So you can at least console yourself with the thought that her first instinct is towards an UP solution grin.

If she's specifically asked for this, then I'd be inclined to do it in some form to show that you're listening to her suggestions.

Aranea Tue 28-Jul-09 21:34:23

franklymydear - UP is unconditional parenting, and Alfie Kohn wrote a book (which I haven't read) about it. I don't like sticker charts mostly for vague gut-feelingy reasons really. As a child I always felt a bit 'eeeuww' about people having them as it seemed a bit too much like school and felt out of place at home. And I suppose I still feel a bit like that really - it isn't how I want my domestic relationships to operate.

Fillyjonk - I wonder if she does want to change her behaviour. Her initial take on it was that I shouldn't get cross and keep going on about it as she was going to do what I'd asked anyhow. I don't think the idea of a timescale is something she grasps at all!

How interesting that it's your oldes who does this too.... do you think it's a first-born thing?? My dd2 isn't yet old enough for me to tell.

Aranea Tue 28-Jul-09 21:37:06

God, would he PortAndLemon? Argh. How on earth does he think people co-exist and take care of other children at the same time?

She tends to casually drop into conversation her ideas on how she will parent her children, and I look forward to seeing her UP style in action! Maybe she'll write a book.... (I think it will include gems such as the idea that a child should receive a present for saying 'sorry')

wonderingwondering Tue 28-Jul-09 21:41:38

I agree, I don't like sticker charts. I think if they do something good or bad, you praise or tell off, then move on. The idea of a chart means the behaviour kinds of 'hangs around' in a way I don't think is appropriate for young children.

If she wants stickers, let her have them to decorate a scrapbook, herself, her sister. But I'd focus my own response on praise and talking to her, rather than the giving of a reward.

As for the naughty step - I don't see is as a place for them to sit and be miserable. I see it as a way to break the behaviour and to come back and start again. Otherwise you just get into a spiral of nagging, telling off, more bad behaviour. So if they take themselves off, that's fine, but if they've been naughty they do have to stay there until I say they can come back and play.

Fillyjonk Tue 28-Jul-09 21:46:01

aranea I actually suspect its more that I expect too much of him

he is 5, he dreams, he procrastinates. I tend to focus too much on the younger ones when we are getting ready to go and forget he needs help too. He still needs supervision and some light touch guidance to get ready, whereas the others actually need a lot more practical help.

I loathe leaving the house with my three, I actually dread it, it is so grumpy and bitty and aargh...aaaagh....

Fillyjonk Tue 28-Jul-09 21:49:06

oh yes AK would let her sit and stare into space or whatever, I think. I have thumbed those pages quite well in my quest for smooth mornings and I think he actually gives some examples of how splendid it is when he did this.

You know what I'd do if it were ds? I'd explain WHY I wasn't happy about giving her stickers, and that I didn't feel comfortable bribing her to be good. BUT that if she wanted the sticker chart to adminster herself, I'd give her whatever practical help she needed. So it's her thing.

ottersRus Tue 28-Jul-09 21:51:55

"I suppose the problem is that I do feel bad about getting cross with her. So part of me wonders whether it might work and stop me shouting when she completely ignores me and takes forever to do things."

Have a sticker chart for you. You can have a sticker everytime you don't shout grin.

Aranea Tue 28-Jul-09 22:27:31

lol otters! I did have a moment, mid-conversation with dd1, when I almost suggested that very thing! Luckily before the words were formed I realised that it would be an appalling mistake... grin

Fillyjonk, I think I do the same thing with dd1 - I concentrate on dd2 and hope dd1 will sort herself out. I think you're right about explaining why I don't like the sticker chart idea. I might do that, and then make it anyway if she really wants it.

Huffwardly and PortandLemon, I think that's a very good point that I should show I'm listening to her suggestions. I'd like to think she might continue to raise issues and feel there is some point in doing so.

OtterInaSkoda Wed 29-Jul-09 11:23:39

I'm not mad keen on sticker charts for similar reasons to yourself I suspect. However your dd sounds amazingly self-aware and I wonder if she's thinking of using a sticker chart as a motivational tool for her own benefit, iyswim. I have a virtual sticker chart for myself - I put an entry into my Outlook calendar everytime I go to the gym/pool and enjoy the feeling of smugness I get when my screen is awash with blue (all my gym/swim events are labelled the same colour) grin
I'd give it a go, basically.

Othersideofthechannel Wed 29-Jul-09 12:20:55

If you let her have it, I'm sure she'll soon grow bored of it and decide to do something else with the stickers.

DS is 6 and at school they have a reward /punishment system. He once suggested DD be punished for something and I ended up explaining (very briefly) why we do things differently at home. He seemed happy to accept that a class of children and one adult can't co-exist in the same way as a family.

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