I admit it. My husband reminds me constantly and I am so guilty. I have a spoiled, rotten 5 year old son! I have 2 older step boys – 15 and 21 and they get a lot as well. Dad enjoys the older boys and they have quads and cars (15 year old has one waiting), but we make them responsible. They do a lot around around the house and follow some strict rules from us on driving and curfews. As soon as they began working, they were put on budgets and have to pay back their share of certain things. But, the 5 year old can’t get a job, his chore list is very minimal plus the things he wants are cheap. I have started some horrible habits!
Habit #1 A little something every time we are at a store. It started with allowing him a quarter for the machines if he behaved and evolved to him asking for things. Because they may be a dollar or two – why not?! Before I knew it, I was disciplining him in reverse. “Yes, I will buy you that if you promise to behave the rest of the day.” The problem with that is when he misbehaved, he has already had the item and the fascination with it is about gone.
Habit #2 “Mommy is home! Anthony, look what I got for you!” I know..I know! He doesn’t even have to go with me to get things for him. But he rally likes Ninjas and the cup was only $1! He can always use more cups so I can justify it.
Habit #3 “No you cannot play with my phone!” but then I am reminded that I downloaded a new game..it is educational..he does have a point…so, OK! This one bugs my husband the most-“Erinn! Once you tell him no, you cannot go back and give in no matter how you can justify it”. He is right.
2 weeks ago I took a solo trip to Ca. to visit my cousin’s baby who is recovering from his drowning accident and I get a photo text from my husband. It is Anthony eating McDonald’s with his happy meal toy in his hand and below is typed-‘power of persuasion’. My husband got sucked in!!! He works a lot and he now is alone all weekend with the boys. Day 1 Anthony gets a happy meal on our no eat out month! The week I returned, I had to volunteer at my son’s school for Fun Run. It was raining and they had to do a Gym Walk instead. My son’s class enters and he folds his arm in a pout and refuses to ‘walk’ with his Kindergarten class. I walk over to him and he says “We are supposed to Run, I am not walking and I raised enough for a cup and no one has given me my cup yet. This is stupid” Oh my lord! I have been slapped in the face with reality. Change starts now!
Change: We are about week 3 into our chore chart. We started with a talk: reminding him of his behavior at the Fun Run and how everyone had fun without him until he decided to join in. We also talked to him about friendship and would he want to play with a kid that pouts and is mad. As well as about selfishness and being ungrateful. After a bit of a talk we told him “No More- Asking more than once for something and you will have a punishment. Pout and you get a time out no matter where we are”. I went to the Dollar Store and purchased a few toys and some fun candy. I made 2 boxes-a candy and toy box. Printed a simple weekly calendar and labeled chores!
- Make Your Bed
- Brush Teeth AM & PM
- 30 Minutes Learning Time
- 30 Minutes of No Electronics
- Read a Book
He gets to put a star beside each activity as he does it daily. I will only remind him once a day and it is up to him to ask and do his chart throughout the day. Miss 0-1 star in a week and he gets a toy from the toy box. Miss 2-3 and he gets a piece of candy from the candy box. Miss 4 and he gets to stay up 10 minutes later. 5 or more missing starts earns him nothing! He has been rocking his chart! He has only missed one star one week since starting. Between him getting things AFTER he has worked for it and between our punishing pouts, we have seen a much happier child. A bit more unspoiled and happy!