Rewarding Good Behaviour

My nephew spends a lot of time with me for various reasons: His mother works, goes to school full time, interns, and he doesn’t want to behave for her in general. His behaviour is usually pretty extreme, and he is hard to handle. He is staying here for a little while. He had a very bad weekend at home, and had to be brought back to me early. He did not like this at all, but does not have a choice.

I take that back, he does have a choice. He can choose to behave. He is almost eleven, and we are all working hard to change his behaviour before he becomes a teenager.

Dealing with his issues this past weekend suddenly made me think about my daughter, Zowie. She is the one who is still at home. She is basically a good kid, who has rarely ever given me any trouble.

This summer, she joined the Upward Bound Program, which is for college prep. She wants to go to college for Child Psychology, and is planning on ten extra years of school to accomplish her goals.

She studies hard, and has been studying for PSAT’s and SAT’s for the past week. She is sixteen, is homeschooled, and she takes Biology and Algebra at a neerby high school. She is very busy.

It also occurred to me that, with all of the studying she does, it will be hard on her having her cousin around. If he acts up, she will not be able to concentrate. Plus, it would be stressful for her even if he did not have behavioural issues.

I did some things for her this weekend:

  • I talked with sister #1, my nephews mother, and she said that Zowie could spend any weekends at her house that my nephew has to spend at home with me. While there, her other son can help her study for tests. Generally, my nephew goes home on the weekends. However, after the problems this weekend, we decided that he will not be going home next weekend. Zowie will be going there instead.
  • I talked to sister #2 and she agreed that, during the week, Zowie could go there any time to study or just to visit if she was unable to concentrate due to our nephews behaviour.
  • I bought her a snack size package of Oreos. I gave them to her and told her that I really appreciated her good behaviour. I thanked her as well. I gave her the cookies, and said these things to her, in front of my nephew so that he could see that good behaviour will be rewarded.

We, as single parents, have a tough job. Parenting is not always easy. We should all try to remember to reward good behaviour. Given the current circumstances, I am convinced that this is something that all parents should be doing on a regular basis.

Below are some ideas on how I may reward each child for good behaviour. What ideas can you come up with for your children? Feel free to post them here, as others may be able to use them as well.

Zowie (16):

  • Money to go to a matinee with her friends.
  • The privilege of going to social events with friends who live far away.
  • The privilege of visiting those friends for weekends and vacations.
  • I can bake her favorite dessert.
  • I can make special meals for her.
  • I can take her to the movies.
  • I can take her out to eat.

Nephew (11):

  • I can take him to a movie.
  • He can visit his mother.
  • He can talk to her on the phone every evening that he can behave.
  • A trip to the playground.
  • I can take him out to eat.
  • I can take him to the library.
  • I can have a picnic with him.

I hope these ideas help some of you.


Other Articles of Interest:

Are You Really Listening to Your Teenager?

How Can Teenagers Acquire Privileges?

When Should a Teenager Lose His/Her Privileges?

What Chores can My Children Do?

Children and Boredom