Saturday, December 13, 2008

Scheme 3785 in teaching Billy personal responsibility...

Wait, I don't think he's been alive that many days :) Oh well, it seems like it!

I've had enough of the pig sty that passes as his bedroom.

I've had enough of buying him stuff every time we go out (usually craft stuff that then gets shoved into a cupboard - or onto the floor) - because I'm weak and can't say no.

Because he has so much stuff, he doesn't take care of any of it. While we were away he lost a (cheapish) hand-held video game that my mum gave him - we remember last seeing it when he took it into a cafe for lunch, so presumably the next customer got a good treat! He begged us for another one but we told him he has to buy it himself.

I've tried confiscating - but he has so much that it doesn't seem to affect him; with-holding treats - but he doesn't seem to care etc etc etc but I don't follow through with them so of course they fail.

I always had the belief that he should do things like keep his room tidy just because he's part of the family, without expecting a reward - well, that obviously doesn't work..

So... pocket money begins... with a star chart above his bed to mark off each day. At this stage the only thing I have on there is to keep his room tidy. Once he masters that (ha ha) I'll try adding other things one at a time.

Putting it above his bed will force me to see it every night, so hopefully I'll keep enforcing it.

He'll have his own money so I won't keep feeling obliged to buy him stuff.

$2/week pocket money is probably less than I spend on stuff for him anyway!

Maybe if he buys stuff himself he'll start to learn to take care of it - especially if he's had to save up for it.

It all sounds good in theory - right??! Please tell me it will work!


debra said...

It sounds like you have my child at your house. We are going through the exact same thing. I hope your plan works for you. I haven't tried that yet but I just might. I am game for just about anything at this point. And you're right, I am sure we spend more $ on them each week than an 'allowance' would be. It's nice to know I am not alone. :)

Anonymous said...

Might work, mightt not. Didn't really work with mine. She was happy to do without things... The only thing that does work was being really insistent (fierce when necessary) that she tidies (she is almost 14 now!)

Anonymous said...

I found the reward chart works a treat - but then my problem with my kids are that I believe that they should do certain chores without the expectation of a rewards as in real life that is how things work. I assigned a $ value to each chore - to the tune of $0.15c for example for one chore and if they didnt complete that chore on a certain night or day then they simply did not get paid - another valuable real life lesson. The problem that I have with my kids too is that if that chart is not up on the wall or fridge they simply wont do a thing - if you find a solution let me know - as I spend half of my time figuratively bashing my head against a brick wall as well lol.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes forgot to say our kids play station is broken - it was bought as a combined present for them earlier this year - and if it cant be fixed under warranty, I will not be paying to replace it - its a shame but my kids also have to learn some responsibility - I cant count the number of times that I tripped on the cord which is probably the cause of its demise. Oh and the buying things when going out - if my kids have earnt their pocket money they can buy whatever they want - except for lollies. Otherwise they are told point blank not to ask as the answer will be no. I sound like a real meany huh ((ducks for cover)).

libby said...

It's hard when our kids have so much - mine are the same in that they don't really appreciate what they have. Luckily mine have recently taken to keeping their rooms pretty tidy all by themselves - after many years of prompting and reminding they finally realize it better if their rooms are tidy and their stuff organised.
As for Billy, I suggest just keep trying different things until you find what works for him (and you). Pocket money didn't work for mine but it might with Billy.
We're going to try a ticket reward system for extra things done over the holidays (with tickets being taken away for bad behaviour). They can then redeemt he tickets for various things.


The Tin House said...

Kez, I had a similar issue with my 8 year old. He had a room to himself, chock full of so much stuff that he didn't bother looking after anything.

About 4 weeks ago, one day while he was at school, I packed up and REMOVED every single thing other than drawing/writing equipment, and books.

Also, sick of removing CLEAN clothes stuffed into his basket because they'd fall out of his cupboard and he was too lazy to replace them, I left him with 3 pairs of shorts, 3 t-shirts, one jumper and a similar number of socks and undies and packed the rest away.

And do you know what? I was expecting a great protest, but there was nothing but relief. He suddenly found pleasure in having space that didn't have crap strewn all over it. Not only that, but pleasure in not being constantly roused on for being such a pig.

Removing the clutter has really made a huge difference.

Now if he wants to play lego, he has to ask for me to get it down for him. Then it has to be packed up and put back. And lego is the only toy he's asked for, out of the slot car set, the toy car collection, and the rest.

I wish I'd thought of doing this years ago. It's breathed new life into our relationship as his mess is no longer the locus.

Just a thought.

Lisa x

Leanne said...


Good on your for beginning, it is all up to us mums.
Have you heard for fly lady - she has tips for kids. One I learnt from her is start at one corner & work way around, just set the timer for 15 mins. Kids find it over whealming to clean up their room, they really don't know where to start often.

We give our kids $1.00 a week per age - this is to cover al1 spending, they save 20% & use some for gifting.
PLUS we give them a clothing allowance - best thing we have ever done - it has saved us lots of money & kids do not go without - plus it teaches them budgeting.

Good luck with teaching a new habit. And you are very wise just tackling one at a time.

Love Leanne

Kez said...

Thanks for all your comments - I'll post an update in a couple of days. So far so good!

Bel said...

How did this go, Kez?

I have two children (out of six) who are just really messy. I have others who are messy, but can clean up in under 5 minutes. The other two seem to make what looks like weeks worth of mess in a day!

I find that helping them organise things is the only way to stay on top of it. I'm always looking for storage solutions for them.

They also both have too much stuff, so we go through and have a clean out when it all gets too much!