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I had this problem, “My son is not listening to me.” I think most parents have this problem. As we all know, kids feel listening or following rules is against their free will.

The possible solutions seemed to be

  • Don’t order
  • Give choices etc

But, it still didn’t solve my problem. I realized that there is something wrong with the problem. Why do I want him to listen to me? My actual problem is that I’m getting annoyed with some of his behaviors. The solutions to it are radically different now.

  • Appreciate good behavior
  • Use a reward system

So, when my son turned 8, I created a reward chart for him and said every time he behaves well he would get some stars on it. And once he earns a thousand stars he would get a reward for it. He got excited to play the game.

We both discussed and decided the game rules such as what sort of behaviors would get him stars, negative stars whenever he misbehaved, etc. He started off with great enthusiasm and motivation. It meant so much to him that he even wrote good luck to himself on the chart.

It took him 8 months to earn those 1000 stars. I asked him to think and let me know what he would like to get as a reward. He loves outdoor cycling and so he wanted to replace his old bike.

Though star rewards are quite common, the additions such as
– the rule-setting with him
– the longer duration
– the one-time reward that’s related to his favorite activity
– the negative stars etc
have made a huge impact.

It not only solved my problem but also resulted in added benefits.

He understood the value of hard work every time he earned stars.

He accepted the consequences of misbehaving whenever he lost his hard-earned stars.

He learned to be patient when he had to wait for his reward.

He appreciated the importance of savings when he finally got his reward.

 

Now, every time he rides his bike, I can see the pride in his face.

“He did not get his bike, he earned it!”

He enjoyed it so much that he spoke about his star reward experience in the English recitation competition held at his school.

Would love to know if you have had this problem and what have you done to solve it.

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