Thursday, January 24, 2013

Incentives not Consequences

For some RADishes, consequences are incredibly ineffective. If they have come from poverty or literally nothing in an orphanage, having things taken away or privileges revoked matters not to them. They are used to nothing. They have survived with a lot less than TV time. We have found ourselves over the years knocking our heads against the wall trying to find something that matters to her and would be effective in helping curb behavior. Maybe something will work for a day or so but it is as if she remembers that it wasn't that big of a deal in the first place. Control is more important.

What works for our attaching kids is to say, every day, everyone has 30 minutes on the iPad. If you make (wrong choices) you will lose time on the iPad. It works beautifully. It is something they love and want. Losing it matters. For RADish, not so much. We thought it would be a great incentive. Instead we had the same if not greater battles with attitude, schoolwork, entitlement, etc. Not only does she not care about iPad ( or playdates or treats or whatever other normal fun thing you can think of), she is destructive. In one week, she broke our dishwasher, sisters' toys,  and tried to break the washing machine. It was a long week.

So we are trying something new. Earning privileges in short doses and short time frames. She bucks me on every single math problem. It was getting to the point where I was doubting her intelligence (how do they get us to doubt that?!!?) DH was even thinking maybe she was dyslexic or something. We decided to offer her a deal. A bribe, if you will. If you do all of these corrections, you get 5 minutes on the iPad.Every new sheet you do in an honoring way, 5 more minutes. Then we sat back and watched.

Mind you over and over and over, she will have things explained to her, can explain them back to me as how she will do the problem and then hand it back to me wrong. For days on end.

But after this little deal. Low and behold, all her corrections done. Perfectly.

5 minutes.

A couple of days now and she will only do 5 minutes a day. Then out of no where, she did all her corrections and 2 new pages on her own. 15 minutes!! Don't know how long it will last, but I'll take it for now. Grade level----here we come. Just kidding. I am not insane.


Laurena said...

I am brand new -- found you through Dawn. As I read this post, I have a child sitting at the table NOT doing math problems. I felt like you must live in our home! Same kid. The other day she said, "I need you to give me something to motivate me." My first instinct as a mother of other kids who function well is to nurture intrinsic motivation, not bribery. It's so hard to get our minds and hearts around this... I'm excited to read your posts and learn along with you!