Friday, November 14, 2008

Family "Rules"

It seems my posting during this pregnancy is going in fits and starts. I have days and weeks of great energy and days and weeks where I can barely manage parenting, much less housework. Writing, and even reading, take a back seat on those weeks. Part of the problem is that both Calvin and Hobbes have been going through phases of difficult behavior this Fall. I'm sure much of it is due to Hobbes adjustment to school, Calvin's growing independence since he turned four, and both of their minds adjusting to the idea of a baby in the house. Nonetheless, there are some definite behavior tendencies that we need to be more consistent about dealing with now, while they are young.

With that in mind, we have decided to institute some sort of system that rewards good behaviors and discourages bad. Something more than consistent timeouts and other disciplines is in order. I had thought of doing a sticker chart, but I am copying a good mommy-friend of mine instead. We are going to have four basic behaviors that we work on, written out and visible to the boys. I am going to put marbles or small, polished stones (from a craft store) in a clear cup. When one of the boys expresses a good behavior, we will move a stone from the full cup to an empty one. When they do something negative, we will move a stone from the reward cup back to the original cup. Once the reward cup is full and the starting one empty, we will get some sort of family reward, like a trip out for ice cream.

Calvin has helped me to come up with the list of good behaviors, and he seems excited about the idea of having some visible sign of how well or poorly he is doing. I think this will really motivate him to work on some areas. I'm hoping Hobbes will go along with it because his brother is excited. (He usually does.) So here is our list. (I plan to put a scripture reference or two with each in an attempt to begin some scripture memory with the boys. Number 2 is specifically addressing our main issue with Calvin, and number 3 is mostly for Hobbes.)

In our family...

1. We respect daddy and mommy by obeying them the first time they ask without grumbling or complaining.

2. We use kind and polite words when we talk to others. (No violent language, talking back, interrupting, or yelling.)

3. We respect one another's need for space. (No hitting, biting, kicking, or grabbing.)

4. We work together to make a clean and welcoming home for friends by cleaning up our things when we are done playing and by doing our daily jobs.

Please tell me what you think, should I add or delete any? Any editing suggestions? Does this sound like a good idea? I am excited about the idea of collective reward, because I want to emphasize that these behaviors are about us as a family, creating a home of peace and respect and laughter. I am hoping it will help the boys works together, especially as Calvin would have a tendency to get really down if he had a separate reward system and wasn't doing as well as Hobbes. This way, it's not all dependent on him. He's already anxious enough as it is, no need to add pressure.

I'd love to hear what you think, especially the more experienced mommy-types out there. I am definitely up for suggestions!


Kelly said...

I think you might consider not taking a marble away for negative behavior. Let the focus be on the positives, and though you still have to discipline for negative behaviors, don't take away a marble they have already earned for a good behavior. The cup is then all positive- no contentiousness or arguing surrounds it- it's just a way to reward great choices. It was fun to hang out with you (and the rest of the world) today.

Farrah said...

Let me know how it goes with Hobbes. We are in need of SOMETHING around here. I am so tired of the non-stop whining and throwing things when he doesn't get his way. Lucas (like your two) is bright enough to understand what he needs to do and verbal enough to protest and come up with some reason why he doesn't have to.
I am inspired by you to find some way to be proactive with L's behavior and not so overly reactive. I will be praying that you will have the energy and persistance to keep to this and that your boys will respond well. Love ya!!

tipper said...

I think it sounds like a super idea! I can't wait to see how it works for you.

Daniele said...

L's class does the marble thing as a whole group, and it seems to work pretty well. I have my philosophical reservations about it, but that's a much longer conversation...

You might look at _Don't Make Me Count to Three_ for some verses to go along with your rules (If you don't have that book, borrow it from me. Or better yet, get it. It's so so good). We've used the verses on a chart in there to memorize as a family and then remind L when he misbehaves. For example, if he brags, all we have to say is, "Let another..." and he finishes with, "...praise you and not your own mouth, someone else, and not your own lips." (Prov. 27:2). God says it so much better than we do! That way we don't have to come up with our own words...and he's already stored them in his heart.

Laura said...

Great suggestions on implementing it. I'm betting it will work well for Calvin & Hobbes!
And I have a suspicion that this idea orignates from my sister-in-law... Maybe?