Flattery will get you everywhere

Our tomatoes, their green thumbs
Me- Since you guys were so good this weekend you can have a piece of gum.
H- Thanks dad. Thank you for the gum. I love you.
E- Yeah thanks dad. You so handsome today.

After a recent bout with some disciplinary problems, I’ve cut the girls off from getting candy and treats for a bit. They’d do something good, or sometimes nothing at all, and I’d give them a piece of gum (sugar free) or a Starburst. For some odd reason, in my head, I thought that if I gave them a treat, they’d use that as motivation to be good for the rest of the day.

I’ll give you a few minutes to get the laughing out. Finished? Ok, good. Let’s move on.

So after I gave them a treat, I had some false expectation that they’d be good. Generally they did the exact opposite. I’d get enraged and yell. They’d be in trouble and I’d threaten to take treats away. It was a vicious cycle that nobody was winning from. So, I decided to change things up a bit and try to figure out the best way to get them to respond to me without having to either bribe them or yell at them.

Once you start rewarding them for good behavior it’s hard to get them to not expect it. We went through this bit with dinner and it got to the point where they expected to be rewarded for doing something they should do anyways…eat dinner. If you’re wondering, I haven’t quite figured it out yet, so for now I’m just saying “No” every time they ask for gum or candy and nobody has had to yell or be disappointed for not getting expected behavior.

After being pretty good over the course of the weekend I decided to reward them with a stick of gum as a special treat. I let them know that it was for being good all weekend and that I was proud of them. Their responses above make me believe that I might be on the right track. Treats are for special occasions. Not a reward for good behavior. And while it might not get them any more candy, the compliments do go a long way with me…so hopefully they keep that up too.

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