Have there been times when you were ready to go somewhere and your kid didn’t have homework done or had a messy room you wanted cleaned up. “We are not going to Disney until that room is clean!” The other version is a little less noticeable, but as troublesome: “We can go to Disney in August if you keep your room clean and do your homework.” The reality: you are going regardless. You have paid $750 dollars for plane tickets, $400 on park tickets and have made arrangements with Aunt Margaret who lives in Orlando to take her out for a belated 70th birthday dinner. You simply try to use these things as incentives. Sometimes it works. What if it doesn’t?
I know what you are thinking, and YES, it is a big deal. This is an exaggerated (but likely) example, but it happens all the time. If it is something you want to do as a family and have no intentions of canceling or not going…don’t bring behavior into it! Please. If it is something that is flexible and you could do or not do (e.g., pizza dinner), use it if you would like, but make the requirements specific (more on that in a later entry). These types of contingencies (i.e., if you _________ then you can _________) can be incredibly helpful, but only if used appropriately and at the right time.
Don’t teach the bluff.