Tuesday, April 30

Choices & Consequences

I feel like this a lesson we've been tackling with Kadyn for over a year. Probably more than a year.

Nothing is sticking.

He's lost all his Lego, his DS and ALL gaming privileges, waterpark trips as well as other fun outings and he's spent entire days in his room with nothing but his books and his stuffies.

He still makes the same poor choices over and over and over and over.

For too long, we did the all or nothing consequence.

You make a poor choice, you lose all your Lego. Or your DS. Or whatever.

You have a few days of (at least mostly) good choices and behaviour, you can have it all back.

Repeat at least twice a week.

That old record is definitely broken.

Really, it never played smoothly to begin with. I don't know why I kept trying.

So I decided to try a reward board of sorts.

Here's what it looks like:


On the top left are the behaviours Ryan and I want to see, the bottom left are behaviours we do not want to see. Hence the (+) and (-). At the end of the day, we go over each behaviour with Kadyn. The bottom is subtracted from the top and Kadyn's total points are recorded at the bottom.

Five points earns him a piece of Lego (not a single brick, that'd just be mean) or 5 minutes of DS/gaming time, his choice.

Kadyn fully understands how the board works (though he often pretends otherwise) and what is expected of him.

(He knew what was expected of him before the board.)

And there will be NO slack, NO reminders, NO second chances.

He's been given eleventy kajillion (and one) of those. They do not help.

This post will be written over the months of March and April. I thought that only one month might not be the best gauge of effectiveness.

Hopefully some kind of progress will be made because I am at the end of my rope. I can't imagine Kadyn's all that happy with how things have been around here either.

So here we go......

March 5: We are halfway through our third day and Kadyn is sitting at -1 points. That's not a typo folks, he's in the negative. He's also currently in his room until his father gets home for tackling his brother over a little foam ball then telling me he was going to kick my butt. Off to a great start!

By the end of week one, Kadyn had earned 8 points. Out of a possible 63. Yikes.

March 16: Kadyn finished the week with one perfect day and a total of 25 points!! A definite improvement over last week! Though I'm not happy about the day he finished at zero or the day he finished at -1. (Yup, another day finished in the negative.) I don't expect perfection by any means but a zero or less is not acceptable.

Anything under half is unacceptable to me.

I do think he's 'getting it' though. And everyone has bad days.

The only 'goal' I've set for Kadyn is to do better tomorrow, to earn more points than the week before.

March 23: This week Kadyn finished with 23 points. Not better than last week, but still decent. I'm noticing Kadyn is succeeding and failing with the same tasks. It may be time to switch things up and put a bit more focus on the tasks he is consistently failing with.

Kadyn chose to 'spend' all his points this week on gaming time and used all his time (20 minutes) in one sitting. We've been struggling with the seeming unfairness of him not having gaming time when others in the house do. That fight's been a bit tough but I think I saw a glimmer of recognition in Kadyn's eyes so no way am I backing down now.

March 30: THIRTY EIGHT POINTS BABY!!! YEAH! Kadyn had a GREAT week. To be totally honest, I thought he would bomb. It was spring break, his routine changed suddenly and I think we've all been hit with Spring Fever.

One more week and we'll switch up some of his tasks.

April 7: I completely missed this week. We did the chart, I just completely spaced on writing about it. It was an average week, I know that.

April 14: I added a few new tasks this week: Getting ready for school/activities on time, clean up room and No saying "NO!" and I removed 'Ignoring Mom & Dad' as it seemed a bit redundant. Kadyn finished this week with 22 points. Very disappointing.

April 21: What a week. Sunday, Kadyn earned 8 points and 11 on Monday. I gave him 2 points for getting ready on time because he did a stellar job getting ready for school in the morning AND getting ready for Jiu Jitsu that evening. After that, downhill at warp speed. He finished with 30 points but 19 of those were earned Sunday and Monday. Kadyn didn't earn a single point on Wednesday and lost all the Lego he had earned back on Saturday. He also spent the entire day in his room. Because he was rude and disrespectful beyond punishment. And beyond belief.

I've hit a brick wall with him. His attitude is disgusting. At times, he is so disrespectful and rude that I don't even know how to deal with it, I am speechless. And I just do not understand how his brain works.

I can tell him that if he does X, he WILL get in trouble and Y will happen. He will immediately do X and then FLIP THE FUCK OUT when, just as I said, Y happens.

After he's calmed down, we will talk. I will ask him who makes his choices, he will tell me he does. So I ask him who is responsible for him getting in trouble, he is. We talk about good choices and what he needs to do in the future and all is well and good and understood.

Five seconds later.....

Ryan being out of town so much only makes things worse. Kadyn misses his dad and I run out of patience frequently because I don't have help or a break. And, to be honest, I don't know if I am dealing with Kadyn's behaviours in the best way. I'm kinda guessing my way through this.

April 28: Thirty seven points this week!! Substantially better week. I wish I knew the triggers or causes of Kadyn's attitude and poor choices. I can see it sometimes (Graysen, boredom, exhaustion, the usual suspects) but most times, I just don't get it. It's so up and down and so random. I feel like figuring out the cause - whatever it is - would help me handle it better.

Though I have to say, this whole chart thing is helping me as much as it's helping Kadyn. It's given both of us a concrete view of Kadyn's choices and consequences/rewards.

When he asks why he can't do something or why something was taken away, we can refer to his chart. When he makes good choices and has a good attitude, he can see his points add up. And when he 'spends' his points on Sundays, it further reenforces how good choices and positive attitudes pay off.

It's also a pretty effortless way to recap our day, talk about what we did, what we maybe shouldn't have done, what we did well and what we need to work on.

Overall I think this chart has had a positive impact.

We will continue to use the chart, changing up tasks and goals as needed.

Do you use a similar chart? What works for you and your children?

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