I'm thankful I have pretty good kids. They seem to be polite, kind and respectful. I say seem because let's face it teenagers can very easily be one way around adults and another around their peers; I can only speak on what part of their lives I see and pray that the other part is a similar reflection.
I recently spoke with a friend of mine who is constantly struggling with her kids. She asks them to do this or that and they balk every time. She is constantly telling me about how they've lost this privilege or that special treat. She's in a constant battle with them and when they don't "measure up" they lose something.
Got me thinking. What's the difference.
Our children are similar age. Similar likes and dislikes.
She speaks often of her children loosing or getting things taken away.
I speak often of my children earning the right or privilege.
We've always been earners around here. My children are not guaranteed anything to be given to them; well maybe food and clothing, but when it comes to screen time, friends coming over and extra activities those are not a for sure thing. They must be earned.
Here's why my children don't lose their Playstation or youtube time when the weekend comes: it's not theirs to lose.
They must earn it.
When the week comes to a close, or even when the day comes to a close and the boys want to sit in front of a screen or have a friend over I simply ask them, "Are your chores done? Is all your school/homework done?" If they can answer yes to those questions then we all know they have earned the right to those privileges. If they answer no, the conversation is over, because they know the answer, and this is where consistency comes in. If you say no, then mean no, stick to it even if you regret saying no in the first place. I remember when my boys were little and I made some crazy remark and took away TV for the weekend (I do believe there is a time to lose privileges); anyway, by Saturday night I was regretting the no TV, pulling my hair out in desperate need for the old faithful babysitter. I remember my boys begging to just watch one show, wanting to say yes I explained to them I said no and even though now I want to change my mind I simply can't do it. Let your yes be yes and your no be no and let your children learn to earn the fun things in life.
I think it gives children ownership, responsibility and something to work toward. I asked my friend if she thinks her kids have given up on behaving, all it takes is one thing to "not go the right way" and they lose their fun. I think after a few weeks of getting the PS2 taken away I'd try to find another way of playing my PS2.
Set goals for your children.
Above all love them and help them when they don't "measure up" to what you had expected.
I want nothing more in life than to be my children's biggest advocate, someone who comes along side them and helps them through life; not a parent who stands over them expecting this and that, upset each time they "fail".
So for what it's worth this post has been my 2cents on children and earning privileges.
What's your 2 cents?