My kids don’t love me. My kids don’t listen. Yeah, yeah… whatever, but they do love technology. You can bet your sweet apples I’m going to use that nugget to help out my out-numbered self! I see the stares and judgement when we are in the restaurant and my kid is playing a game. We’re out of touched, plugged in, have no clue. Blah, blah, blah. Yo lady, until you have four kids, two dogs, cats and rats… stuff it! Getting these jokers to cooperate can be a challenge for me, other family members, and their teachers; once you know their weakness it’s all down hill.
Let’s talk about why my kids don’t listen (your weakness)
My kids don’t listen on days that end in ‘y’. Let’s get into a little phycology. I put myself last. I keep promises to other people before I keep a promise to myself. It is no wonder I am burned out when my kids don’t listen. More then that, it is the habit. Habits literally run more of my life then conscious decisions. A habit is a a cue, an activity and a reward. The cue as a parent: cue parenting habits. Sadly, the activity usually involves manipulation, yelling or coercion. Then I reward myself with thoughts of grit. You go girl! You are committed, you showed up!
Honestly, it is really punishment. All that commitment made me… Then the guilt sets in and the behavior is repeated. I’m the bad boyfriend people!
I stay, I yell, I’m miserable.
After the crap show is over I am burdened with guilt. I justify punishing myself by not taking time away because, I don’t deserve it, etc. Now I’m in a sour frame of mind and crippled with guild, waiting for it to start all over again. Total frustration.
Here is the deal.
Take. The. Time.
Take time for yourself! You’ll come back refreshed and maybe with new ideas/new activity.
Then the reward will feel good and the cycle won’t feel so bad!
We are always looking for a way not to feel frustrated. We are subconsciously/consciously seeking out new ways to handle our frustrations.
Speaking of new ideas. My cousin and I were sitting around chatting and she mentioned a point system her friend uses, which I’m going to describe below. What really stuck out to me was the ability to form good habits or habits you’d like to see more of from your kids (e.g., doing something nice for your siblings). Her friend actually had a back rub for points. Brilliant!
Here are the nuts and bolts…
20 Points to Technology
We have a rule in our house: absolutely no T.V. before school until everyone is packed up (e.g., lunches, etc.), dressed to shoes, breakfast is done and teeth and hair are brushed. There are no struggles and the rule encourages team work. God bless you if you have anything to say about my kids watching T.V. before school… keep that hate movin’ sister.
I also know my kids love technology. So, I’ve implemented a technique in my house that fosters cooperation. I get what I want and they get what they want. Win-win. More importantly, the vocal cords are in tact and my frustration is low.
Here is how it works:
Set a total number of point that you want your kids to earn to have T.V./Technology.
Assign a chore and point value to reflect the activities importance.
Watch them work to get what they want, the Reward/Technology.
Of course, some days your kids will not be as motivated as others; it is a method to encourage cooperation (and less yelling, yo!). It can be anything too, not just technology. Maybe your kids love going to the local library. You can set it up to accumulate points over several days.
The possibilities are endless.
I put up the new points in plain view on a chalk board outside their rooms, leaving the new “habit” up for a a few weeks. Then, when it takes, you can start over or move on to just letting them use it as a chalk board 😉 . It does not have to be a chalkboard. It can be a notepad, spreadsheet, color in gauge, etc.
Set the Points
For me, it’s 20 because, I don’t want to be here until my next dye job. Remember, this is suppose to help you out, not stress you out. I keep a few line items and a couple points for each chore; 20 gives you a lot to work with. Once the kids have complete all the items that equal 20, they get the reward.
Did you see what I did there?
Cue, activity, reward.
Assign a Chore & Point Value
For me it is important that my kids read each day and be kind to their siblings.
Agg the back story.
Any way, I digress.
That being said, I give more points to behavior I want to see more of. For example, do something nice for your brother/sister, 6 points. I give lower points for behaviors that are already established. I also give one extra point (21) so they feel like they have some decision power. Yes, it’s an illusion of sally thinks she’s not going to have to brush her teeth, but you get the jest of it!
Like I said, this can be anything; it has to be their “why”. The reward has to be so clear that they know without a doubt they are going to get up every morning and meet the curiosity. Is the reward/why strong enough to encourage new behavior?
My kids accused me of tricking them into reading. Blah, blah, blah. At least they can read. The point is, the why is strong in my kids when it comes technology. They love playing games and using other apps during screen time. Each one of my kids are willing to read 20 minutes a day to get technology. Now, they can get points for being nice to their siblings; sometimes they opt to read twice LOL. None the less, brushing their hair/teeth, getting dressed and eating breakfast is a habit that is reinforced.
When they ask why that’s a point I tell them it is an option. Either way they know they have to do it, but now they can get extra credit for it. It works great when they don’t want to do other things and simply go through the motions of morning activities.
When I was writing this post I thought to myself, what about date night? I give myself a list of “chores”, or finish things I’ve been putting off, to get done. If it gets done, bam! Reward. Only it will be a reward and not just me adulting. Like I said before, the possibilities are endless. You only need a target, credit for the activity/behavior and a reward to form a habit.
I hope this helps. And if you try this practice I’d love to hear from you!
If you are still feeling frustrated with your kids behavior be sure to check out post on How to Motivate Your Child for School and Beyond.