In my quest to find the perfect method of motivating my children and teaching them the importance of hard work, self-motivation, and all those other things I’m supposed to impart before they enter teenage years, at which they cease listening, I have tried many varied techniques. I admit to a huge flaw on my part. The more complicated the “system” the less likely I will enforce it, and thus it breaks down, and chaos ensues. Well, not exactly chaos, but daily life becomes more of a “winging it” adventure designed to murder my brain cells with sleep deprivation and sap every ounce of my patience.
Add in to that, each child, at varying ages, responds to different motivators. Picture three kids, three different ages, and three disparate personalities. Math is not my strongest subject, but I recall permutations, and I’m not liking the numbers. A method that worked seemingly well with my summer sitter supervising (whip-cracking or cajoling I suspect), failed abysmally within the first week back to school. All the cheerful flags w/chores to select were abandoned, nothing got done, the house turned into a disaster, and I wanted to wring little necks.
So, I ditched that, at least until next summer, made up a nice little chart, assigned the chores I wanted done each day, and posted it. Chores completed every day earned a goody from the “treasure basket”. Miss Diva may fudge from time to time on how she does the chores, but she is the most consistent at doing what is expected. Mr. Smarty Pants does them most of the time, but has not had a treasure basket week in a while. Miss Drama lives up to her moniker. Ninety-nine percent of the time chores are preceded by a tantrum or dramatic soliloquy on why she cannot possibly do it by herself. To be fair, she is only six. Although, considering things like her habit of not turning in homework, and that merely dressing and including all of the appropriate items for appearing in public is still a work in-progress, some days I think her maturity level got stuck at four.
So when Soup King told the kids if all of them did their chores for a week, they would get a surprise, I was not shocked when two weeks went by and they did not meet the requirements. When Soup King reminded them, Mr. Smarty Pants rejoined, “Well, what is it? It could be a can of soup. I don’t want a can of soup.”
“It’s not a can of soup.” Soup King informed him and refused to budge on revealing the surprise.
Mr. Smarty Pants determined that Miss Drama was the weakest link. It was she that was holding them back. Never-mind he failed to do the dishes on Sunday, or go to bed on time for that matter. So he proceeds to bonk her on the head w/an air-filled blow-up mallet while she laughs. “Do-bonk-your-chores-bonk-so-bonk-we-bonk-can-bonk-get-bonk-a-bonk-surprise-bonk. And it’s definitely NOT a can of soup!”
As much as I’m sure that motivational endeavor urged Miss Drama to indeed be the model child, I suspect she will need far more micromanaging than head bonking.