Never thought you would get that question from me did you? I’m not asking the question you think I’m asking.
What I am asking is…Do you offer incentives, reinforcers, access to fun things as ways to get your child to do something you want them to do, then not follow through. A lot of parents have this problem. In the moment, it is so important for the child to do something that we bring out the big guns:
“I tell you what, if you can make it through this Sunday school without insulting Sister Marguerite, we can get an ice cream cone on the way home.”
The kid does it…what a star! Not a peep during Sunday school and the good Sister actually wondered, “what go into your son today, he was a true gentleman.”
Now you are rushed to get home to get the yard mowed before it rains and you put all your cash into the offering plate because you were still on a high from your son’s success…money well spent.
“We’ll get your ice cream later, OK?” or worse yet, “we can get that ice cream later if you can help your mom for a bit with the baby.”
Did you see what just happened? Over time and experiences such as the one above those “teases” will stop working because your child will learn not to trust what you say. YEP. Why would they? Remember, every interaction is an opportunity (good and bad) to teach your child something.
What are you teaching here? What is the more powerful consequence? Making his friends laugh and cheer after calling out Sister Marguerite’s obesity problem to the class will surely outweigh the benefits of a “not really” offer for ice cream.
Follow through, follow through, follow through. Teach your child that when you say something, you mean it. Teach them when you say there is ice cream, ice cream there will be (and soon).