I don't speak often about the sibling rivalry between Phoenix and Tyler and their behavior in general because it is quite frequent that they drive me bonkers and I often find myself at a loss when it comes to what to do with them. I also don't want my frustration to come across in the wrong way, because I truly love these two goofballs and don't want it to come across any other way than that to them either, if they are ever to read my blog one day.
However, I will admit, that some days I have no idea what I am doing as a mother. I have read the books, talked to the professionals, and put practices in place and my efforts seem to get me nowhere. I created some house rules this past weekend and posted them on our refrigerator as a last resort to encourage good behavior and hope that these simple reminders will result in some nice changes.
The rules are pretty simple, and I tried to use positive reinforcement instead of using rules that tell them "NO" or what what they should not be doing. The rules are accompanied by a simple little chart, and each day they have the opportunity to receive a stamp for good behavior. No one is perfect and we all make mistakes, so they have 3 warnings, or 3 chances to "break the rules", which will then result in no stamp for the day. (Sometimes we need a little reminder, am I right?) Their weekly goal is to receive 4 stamps.
If they receive 4 stamps, they will be able to participate in special activities I am always planning. These are not activities I plan because they have good behavior, they are activities I already plan each week. I believe that children are rewarded best with experiences and activities, as opposed to "gifts". If a child has to witness the rest of the family watching a movie together, baking together, or playing a game together, without them, I believe it hits home with them in a spot that not receiving a "gift" won't do.
Some people may think this is harsh, but when I say I am at my wits end, that doesn't even begin to describe the frustration I feel. Yelling, screaming, and hitting are not methods we prefer to choose with our children (although, I do not disagree with spanking). It is my duty as a parent to teach my children right, and to correct them when they are doing wrong, and we feel this is the best method for us. When we follow the laws in society, we don't get rewarded for it with gifts. Therefore, we do not feel it is the best representation of how things really work in this world.
Besides, what if this works? I can't afford gifts for my kids every single week! Psh!