Thursday, September 13, 2012

Parental Blackmail

If you have missed me, well, I am baaaaaack!!!  Hahaha...

I vowed to myself not to apologize *again* for not writing on here for an absolute eternity.  So, I won't .

To me, Blogging = Fun.  So, if I sit in my comfy red chair, pull out my laptop & proceed to ignore all of my other responsibilities pour my heart out to the great internet void, then I have that nagging feeling of "shouldn't I be doing something useful?".

My solution: block time on my calendar each week to devote to doing this & then it isn't a waste of time, it's what I'm SUPPOSED to be doing. :)
Problem solved. 
I hope.
I have had such an eventful summer....I'm sure....but I can't remember any real specifics, & I don't really want to talk about that anyway.  Let's suffice it to say, Summer 2012 was crazy busy & we were all glad to slow down & get back to school! 
One thing I do know for sure, is that, behavior-wise, the kiddos were MUCH better than in past years!  Yay!  In the interest of keeping it real, I will confess that I was totally DREADING the summertime. Seven kids in the house....all day long...every day....for 12 weeks.  Nope, not a recipe for quiet & meditation.  About 3 weeks before school let out, I began formulating a plan. 
I've never been real big on rewarding expected behavior.  I mean, breathing is reward enough for being an obedient child, RIGHT? 
Apparently not. 
I had a plan for sanity.
Heee heee heeeeeeee.....
Here it is in a nutshell:
     1. There was a chore sheet. 
I just picked up some grid-type thingies at the local teacher's supply store (in fact, all of my supplies came from there) and some small stickers to coordinate.  I wrote the chore down the side & the day of the week across the top. 
I kept it simple:
     Make bed, brush hair, put jammies away, set table, etc...
     Do chore = get sticker
     2. There was a behavior/character system.
This was the BIG DEAL.  This was what I really wanted to work on. 
Again, in another nutshell:
  They each had a large star with their name on it. 
  They had an assigned number of smaller stars affixed to the large one with Velcro.  The older they were, the fewer chances stars they had.
  Bad behavior/character = star removal.
  Star removal = loss of privileges.
  Loss of privileges = incentive to do better next time.
Yay me!!!
     3. There were prizes!!!
This is the part I lifted from some other source that I cannot recall at this moment (the point is that it didn't originate in my skull).
  I found a box & put "Milky Way Store" on the side of it (It was all an outer space theme).  Each item in the box had a monetary value (using garage sale stickers).  I picked up all kinds of stuff that I don't normally buy:
Beef Jerky
Air Head Candies
Chocolate milk (that nasty stuff that doesn't have to go in the fridge)
Coupons for privileges
You get the point.
Now, for each star they had left at the end of the week, they received a dollar amount which they turned around & spent in the Milky Way Store.
Brilliant, I tell ya!  Brilliant!
4. Consistency was rewarded, too.
There was a larger goal as well.
There were 12 mind-numbingly long weeks of summer & if they achieved "Stellar Behavior" for 8 out of  12 weeks, they would be able to go to the water park. 
Not 7 weeks.
Not 6 weeks.
EIGHT weeks.  Firm.  No negotiating.
Two didn't get to go. :o(
I will be honest here, I tried everything I could think of to make it possible for those two to be able to go, but to no avail.  First, it wouldn't have been fair to the others & Second, well, it would make me a big fat liar. 
I'm sure this is all clear as mud, but the long & short of it is this: It's September & I'm still reasonably sane!  I chose not to continue this little system past the summer & all the kiddos were bummed.  Does this mean success????  Come next June, I'll put up another excessively tacky bulletin board in my hall, holler for a meeting & lay down the summer's rules. 
Hey, I'm not ashamed to say it.
I essentially blackmailed my kiddos to be good.
It worked.
If you would like me to email you copies of the "rules", I would be happy to do that.  Just leave me a comment with your email address.