Monday, January 6, 2014

Mom hints: update on "What to do when kids drive you crazy"

A fool and his money are soon parted...

 So life goes on.  And sometimes, a brainstorm deserves to be expanded.

That brainstorm was detailed here in case you missed it.  In a nutshell, I was slowly going insane by my youngest children's insistence on saying, "What shoes/clothes/books/toys/etc?"  when I would ask them to "go get your shoes/clothes/books/toys/etc out from under/on/by/etc the table/couch/door/etc."  I told them from that point on, I would charge them a quarter for making me repeat what I had just told them: what to pick up, and exactly where it was.
This has worked unimaginably well.  I have hit them in what is their (along with most of the human race)'s soft spot: money.
I give my children chores, and if they do them well, they get an allowance on Saturdays.  This allowance lets them buy things at the Dollar Store and Walmart.  They LOVE it and they always know to the penny how much money is burning a hole in their pockets.

So when I saw how well this brainstorm was working, I thought, "hmmmm...."

This is quite a weapon!

So I have expanded it a bit.  There are a few more things they do on a regular basis that can drive me a bit over the edge.  Mainly, the habit of asking "Do I have too?"  when I tell them to do something.
"Luke, pick up those uno cards off the floor."  "Do I have too?"
"Selah, get your crayons off the table."  "Do I have too?"
"Tommy, get your toys off the stairway."  "Do I have too?"

A few days ago, when I was driven to - ummm...well - saying LOUDLY because it was the fiftieth time that day they had asked me that question:  "DID I NOT JUST TELL YOU TO DO IT???"

Suddenly seeing myself as the madwoman I must look like in their eyes, I thought, WHY am I letting them DO this to me???
And then I remembered my brainstorm!  If it worked that well on the "what shoes?" problem, why wouldn't it work on this, too?

So I called them all together, and I told them that from now on, anytime I told them to do something, and they asked, "Do I have too?"  they had to give me not a quarter, but 50 cents, for telling them what they already knew: yes, they have to!

Then after a Selah threw a fit over some minor thing (and you must remember, these little ones have gone through some major trauma before they were adopted: drugs and alcohol in the womb, abuse, neglect, etc, and they do have a real reason to sometimes have a problem dealing with things, and we are working hard, and they are making HUGE progress), I expanded my brainstorm even more.

I called them together again, but this time, it was mainly for Selah and Tommy, because Luke and Angel-Leah do not throw fits.

If you want to cry and throw a fit, and you are not hurt, or someone hasn't died, then you must give me a whole dollar for the privilege of screaming.

I had sudden visions of getting entire allowances, Christmas money, and birthday money back...

And I decided that rather than have them hand me the money, we would put a jar in the cabinet, and they would have to put their money in the jar.

So here it is.  Not pretty, I just got a mason jar and wrote on it with a permanent marker.  I might print out a label for it soon:

It is amazing to me how well this is working.  Much better than spanking or...ummm...talking loudly...ahem...

It's also shown me Luke's tender heart.  Twice, he's caught himself saying "do I have - " and then confessed and said he would put money in the jar.  I let him off at half price for catching himself.

For the past few days, we have had zero fits.  When I see or hear them winding up, I tell them "Before you start wailing, decide if it's worth a dollar.  If it is, then put your dollar in the jar and go right ahead and cry."  Up to this point, it's not been worth a dollar to throw a fit.

And my 20 year old son suggested this morning, when I was lamenting to him that a couple of the kids had a real problem obeying me promptly, that it was probably worth a dollar to have to be reminded that delayed obedience is disobedience.

I will be 60 this year.  I am  hoping senility is not going to happen for a LONG time, because these brainstorms I have sometimes sure make life more peaceful!!

The earnings of the godly enhance their lives, but evil people squander their money on sin.  Proverbs 10:15-17

1 comment:

  1. I love these ideas and it has my mind turning on ways to help my "child from hard places" keep her room clean and stop biting/picking at her nails.


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