I have great kids. They are respectful and pretty well behaved but they are LAZY. Holy cow! Last night, I grounded them FROM the living room until Wednesday because I’m tired of them leaving their stuff, namely ten pairs of shoes and socks, all over the room. I’ve also implemented a new allowance system that I got from watching an episode of Super Nanny, heheh. Anyway, instead of earning an allowance, they have to keep from losing it. They start out the week with a set amount of points. During the week, if I have to tell them to do their chores, homework, or get on them for misbehaving, they lose points. At the end of the week, their leftover points translate into a monetary allowance. So far, it’s working way better than any other punishment/reward system we’ve ever tried using. They are 12 and almost 10 years old and have to learn responsibility. It’s not like I make them wax the floors or landscape the yard. They have to unload and reload the dishwasher and take care of the trash and recycling. They also have to keep their rooms clean and walk the dogs. All in all, it’s not a lot of work and it doesn’t take a lot of time. Do they like to do it? No, not at all. Last night they lost points because I’ve been telling them to clean the kitchen since Friday and they’ve yet to do it completely and not half-assed. Case in point: The oldest child put away my large, glass pyrex mixing bowl in the cabinet in such a way that when I opened the door, it fell out and shattered all OVER the freaking place (I was very sad to have my favorite mixing bowl broken). Why did that happen? Because she was trying to do as little work in as little time as possible. Points lost.
I’ve always felt that paying kids to live in their own house is wrong. That didn’t stop me from paying them to do stuff around the house because I was desperately trying to figure out a way to get them to be responsible for themselves and not to be total slobs. Suffice it to say, it didn’t work. But this way, they get an allowance because I’d like them to have their own spending money and to realize how much things cost. They are spoiled with having too many things. Cell phones, iPods, Gameboys, Wii’s, enough toys for 20 kids, enough clothes and shoes for the entire neighborhood, and other random stuff. As a result, they don’t take care of any of it…Oh, I lost my shoe? Mom or grandma will buy me another pair. Whoops. I broke Barbie’s head off. Oh well. I bet I can get grandpa to buy me ten more. When it comes to the oldest child’s cell phone (the youngest doesn’t have one yet), the iPods and that type of thing, I threaten their lives to get them to take care of them. This hasn’t stopped the dogs from chewing on the youngest child’s iPod out in the yard though. So, they have their own money so that they can realize how much it takes to buy the things they want. But, they have to act like civilized human beings, because in reality, that’s all I’m asking for, or they will have their money chipped away at until they are left with quarters instead of dollar bills.
Even after our preliminary success with our new allowance method, I still don’t have much faith that it will last. How sad is that? We’ve tried other things in the past that have temporarily worked until I get tired of keeping up with it and end up doing everything myself. Is this a control issue maybe? Or what’s the word? Where a person takes everything on themselves so that they can make everyone feel sorry for them or feel like crap for not doing anything to help? Whatever. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this will work out for us.
Do you have success or failure stories when it comes to kids, chores, and allowances?