Monday, January 09, 2012

If You Can't Beat Them, Charge Them?

It can be difficult to enforce rules when you are a parent who tries very hard to never physically strike your children. Time outs have limited effectiveness and you can't use them too often or the positive effect is lost (or your child is spending most of the day in time-out.)

We used a chore chart for a while with a prize box reward system. That worked pretty well, until the chart was accidentally erased (wipe off white board) by our goofy cat. How? I had the chart leaning against a wall and the cat thought it was huge fun to run through the "tunnel" I made. His repeated passes turned him into a big furry eraser. Once the boys realized I had no idea how many stars they had earned for the month, the chores and good behavior went undone. Back to square one.

Then thanks to a couple jerks on YouTube who thought it great fun to use clips from my youngest son's favorite TV show and replace the 5 year old friendly dialog with a spew of curses and other inappropriate talk and did NOT identify their efforts as MATURE CONTENT, I have been treated to a string of four letter words from both my boys (who naturally found these videos totally hilarious.)  With a great deal of difficulty, I resisted the urge to smack the lips off their faces and came up with an ingenious punishment. If either boy utters one of the "you can't say that!" words within hearing of his sibling, he must pay his brother 25 cents. Same goes if Mom or Dad hears those taboo words. They owe us a quarter. Of course, to be fair, I made the punishment valid for John and I too. If we slip and the boys hear us, we pay them a quarter.  I gave them each a Post-It and taught them to keep track of the quarters owed with hash marks.

Since both boys are very protective of their respective piggy banks, this worked really well for a day or two. Then my clever little devils figured out how to turn the punishment into a money making scheme. They started accusing each other of swearing. His brother might not even be in the same room but "Moooom! Max said the A word!" Oh brother. The Post-It hash marks started multiplying. Then things really escalated. They started doing things that made me want to swear. A lot. OK, maybe that last part is more about my frayed nerves and being this close to "that time of the month." Currently, I think Max owes Tyler $1.2 million and I owe both boys around $250K.

Yeah. I think I am in the market for a new method of punishment.


1 comment:

Emily Suess said...

Don't be mad, but this post is so funny! Charming really. :)

Hang in there.