Do I stick to my guns or give my 5yr old another chance?


At start of week we started a rewards chart. Was brought from shop. It has days of the week and everyday ‘tasks’ like dressing by self, brushing teeth, doing homework etc. Upto 12 points can be earned a day. When 50 points is reached teh child earns a reward. So me and my daughter picked out some rewaards…

Well, I think that personally I would have told her in the first place that she would lose 5 smilies or something if she kept doing that. Then when she bothered the cat again she would have lost 5 smilies. I don’t think that bothering the cat is a big enough offense that she deserves to lose all 45 smilies.

Personally, I’d go to her and tell her that you’re sorry, that you lost your temper, and that bothering the cat doesn’t deserve a loss of 45 smilies, but still deserves a loss of 5 smilies (or 10, or whatever you deem appropriate and think would sink in). Then I’d let her draw back on the smilies, minus the amount that she lost. That way, she knows she has lost smilies for bothering the cat when you’d told her not to, and she knows she will lose smilies for it in the future, but her confidence will also be still there. If you wipe all her smilies every time she makes a teeny mistake, I can tell you she’s likely to stop even trying to earn them, and your whole system will backfire.

Even adults make mistakes sometimes. I don’t think it’s fair to expect her to be perfect all week to get to earn something. I mean, she’s 5. When you’re 5, “try again next week” sounds just like “try again in 10 years”.

EDIT: I am definitely all about following through, don’t get me wrong. Did you actually tell her before the act that she would lose “all of her smilies” or just “smilies”? If you told her “smilies”, then you are perfectly justified in telling her that you made a mistake and erased too many.

If you told her “all of your smilies”, you’re in a pickle. However, what I’ve already described is personally what I’d do. For a couple of reasons.
1) If she sees that everything will be erased for each slight infraction, she will not be motivated to earn the smilies, and your chart will be useless.
2) Yes, we need to follow through as adults, but once in a while people make mistakes and overreact. And I think that’s a valuable lesson for kids too. They learn, through your modeling, that when you overreact and make a mistake, it’s okay to say you’re sorry and fix it, even when it might hurt your pride.
3) Since it’s a weekly chart, I’d make it so that all the smilies have to be earned by the end of the week. That is, she’s got to earn all the smilies by Saturday (or Sunday, or whenever you consider the end of the week to be), because at the beginning of the week you start a whole new chart. This way, she’ll see that it’s possible to earn the swim, but it will be hard. And if she just misses it by a few smilies, you can remind her gently that if she hadn’t bothered the cat when you told her not to, she’d have earned it.

A reward chart is meant to be just that, a chart that tracks progress. You want to draw attention to, and reward the positive things your child is doing. Erasing the smiley faces was a mistake because it underrnines the reinforcement of the positive and puts the focus back on the negative. You could use a naughty chair or some other consequence for negative behavior, but the chart should remain only for reward. If she met the criteria, she should get to swim. However, you can’t really undo what you’ve already said. I would allow her an opportunity to earn back the smiles, but maybe somehow tie it to treating the cat nicely, like brushing the cat (if your cat allows it) or cleaning the water dish etc. If you don’t let her swim, then the hard lesson you’ve taught her is why bother to be good, because one mess up just erases everything you worked for. We’ve all had those moments as a parent where in a moment of frustration our reaction is unfair, but you have to figure out a way to teach the lesson without discrediting yourself. Good Luck.

while it may have been a little harsh to wipe all smilies, I think you need to stick to your guns..

This is the first week youve tried implementing this system and it is the most critical time in setting the foundation as to how consistent you will be with the rules. If you go back on it now, she will know that that IS an option, she just needs to figure out how to make you do it.

Follow through on the lesson. Mom said not to do something or she would lose her reward.. she did it anyway.. she knew the risk and took it. This is what sets the patterns in her brain for future events when she’s older..

Honestly you just have guilty mom syndrome.. it will pass.. it seems you both may have learned a lesson from this chart.. she learns to follow rules, hard work=reward, defiance=loss of reward and you learn to be consistent and I think you also learned about being fair. win/win.

It was a little harsh to wipe ALL her smilies, BUT she obviously needs a good old fashioned hard lesson (bc u said she doesn’t listen for long). Let her learn. She will get another chance next week

You’ve used the “If you keep doing that, you will lose a smiley” threat, which is good. However, killing off all 45 for one offence is very harsh in my opinion, sticking to your guns means keeping to what you say – if you say “you’ll lose a smiley”, knock off a smiley, don’t wipe her entire week out over one misdemeanour.

If you are using this chart as a method of operant conditioning, then you already know the answer to this question. If you cave, the chart, the smiles, your word, all of it will mean nothing. Stick to your guns or find a new disciplinary method that involves negative reinforcement or extinction.

you should only take of a one of the smiles then she will have to get to 50 points and go swimming if she doesnt by tomarrow then she shouldnt go swimming tomarrow she can try for sunday

Stick to your guns. Parents these days have too much of an “I don’t care” or “whatever” attitude. It’ll pay off in the end if you do.

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