difficult children driven by money?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Lothlorien, Jun 11, 2007.

  1. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    Just curious..... can you bribe your difficult child to get homework done with money? Missy has issues with Word Searches....I can't understand this, because it's a fun thing, but this has been a source of meltdown after meltdown. Eventually, I asked the teacher (as well as a few other parents) to not give them for homework. She stopped for a while, but is giving them out again. Today, I bribed Missy that for every word she got by herself, I would give her a nickel. She likes to get money for stuff. She helped me clean the house yesterday. I gave her small things to do, but there were about 7 or eight things. I gave her two bucks and she was tickled pink. She's saving for a new Razor Scooter, since her cheap Barbie scooter broke.

    So are your difficult child's driven by money?
  2. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    Guess what.....she got all 12 words. She is so proud of herself. It worked! hahahahahahahahahaha :smile: :wink:
  3. Babbs

    Babbs New Member

    My difficult child's behavior never responded well to simple limit setting or time outs. Doing a behavior chart for stickers worked for a while but without constant change it only worked for about one week at a time. We've gotten a bigger bang out of his token economy than I ever thought we'd get. He gets tokens for almost everything he does right now and then he turns them in for rewards like 30 minutes of educational computer games, 30 minutes of TV, buy back a confiscated toy, etc. He can turn them in for $0.25 a token which helps when he wants to buy a specific toy. He chose some larger ticket rewards (like the Water Park and he loves Chuck E Cheese are like 200 tokens each just to get him in the door). Helps keep me from being bankrupt. For homework that he hates he gets tokens for each one problem and then since initiating is tough for him, he gets an additional one if the problem is completed within 1 minute.
  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well...I would say that most people are driven by money so difficult child's shouldnt be any different. I wish I had taken heed of this much earlier because maybe Cory would have stayed in school.

    Cory is extremely motivated by the power of the almighty dollar.
  5. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    difficult child loves to earn money for odd jobs around the house so I would say he is motivated by $. Doesn't always work but it does at times!
  6. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Loth, I'm not a big fan of reward plans because I want my kids to feel motivation from the inside rather than from the outside. So instead of "buying" their cooperation, I try to help them identify what's causing the meltdown and then work with them to find an acceptable solution (a la Ross Greene's Collaborative Problem Solving model).

    My third-grade daughter (easy child/difficult child 3) had frequent meltdowns this school year about certain kinds of homework (cursive writing and math word problems). In both cases, anxiety was at the root of her meltdowns. For cursive, she was anxious because she's left-handed and hadn't been taught by the teacher how to form the letters properly. I also took her to an Occupational Therapist (OT) to observe her writing, and it turned out she was gripping the pencil improperly. Once she was taught properly, the anxiety lessened and the meltdowns disappeared. She is now very proud of her new and improved handwriting.

    In terms of math word problems, easy child/difficult child 3 was having difficulty understanding exactly what the problems were asking and then melting down when she couldn't answer them. We are continuing to work with her on breaking down what the words mean and then translating them into math notation. It's a lot of work, but as she builds her confidence in learning this new skill, her anxiety is decreasing and we're not seeing as many meltdowns. I expect we will continue to work on this skill this summer.

    I'm not going to tell you not to use money, but I do think this kind of token economy only works in the short term (and may lead to the "gimmes," which personally drives me crazy). In terms of word searches, can you figure out what is causing Missy to meltdown? Is she overwhelmed by all those letters jumbled together and frustrated that she can't find the words quickly? Can you teach her any tricks to find the words so that she is proud internally from the accomplishment rather than externally from the money?

    I'll get off my soap box now. If you're interested in a more in-depth discussion of Ross Greene's techniques, you should read Treating Explosive Kids, written for clinicians but eminently accessible to lay parents of challenging children.
  7. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts


    I have to say that all the bribes, rewards,stickers & allowances never made a long lasting impression on tweedles dee & dum. It became pointless & in the moment.

    I'm glad that it works for Missy.
  8. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    My difficult child is motivated by money. Too much. She seems to think she should get paid for doing anything. Because of that, I don't use that system.

    For one thing, I don't agree with paying for doing chores. We are a family and as a family we are all responsible for our living environment. It's just the way it is (to me). Instead, I make it into a game by putting a list of chores into a bowl and we each draw from the bowl. We then set the timer for 5 minutes and work on our chore. When the timer goes off, we stop and draw again. It keeps anyone from doing the same chores all the time and the 5 minutes (sometimes we do 10 minutes) insures that noone is stuck doing something the hate the entire time we're cleaning.

    Homework causes a lot of anxiety for difficult child. We have no homework written into the IEP for now. However, what worked best was not having a set time to do homework and creating an environment that was as stress free as possible, i.e., no interference, noise, etc. By not having a set time, difficult child wasn't watching the clock and having her anxiety build knowing that homework was impending. I waited until she seemed calm and in the frame of mind for it. Sometimes that was right after school. Other times, it was after dinner, just before bed, or in the morning before school.
  9. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    I used to wish my daughter was motivated by money. I would have happily paid to get her to do her homework and graduate from high school. Sadly, nothing worked for either thing. There was no bribe that I could ever find to get her to do homework. There was no threat that could get her to go to school once she hit 18.

    Bribes did work for things she really wanted to do but was having difficulty. They were a way to get her to sit and think about what was needed to be done, a way to do it and a willingness to ask for help. Without some type of bribe, she would simply refuse to do it. The bribe was simply a way to get her to calm down enough to think. At least it worked when she was younge.
  10. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    My son is semimotivated by money, depends on the day. I give them an allowance, that they have to earn. I had to put wearing the Daytrana patch on his "chore" list so he would leave it on, now that he is used to it, we have no issues.
  11. Babbs

    Babbs New Member

    smallworld -
    I agree that kids need to learn how to be intrinsically rewarded verses bribed all the time. However I also recognize that my son has extreme difficulty with impulse control, delayed gratification, and organizational skills. So I use a token system so that he has a physical manifestation of his good work and sees the direct correlation between that and getting to do something. I've worked really hard with his therapist to build facets into the system to help teach that intrinsic motivation. Scheduling homework first, chores next, then rewards. Rewards are things that you and I would reward ourselves with after a long day of work and chores - play time on a computer, TV time, special time with me, etc. Also, negative consequences are built in to our system. He complains, that's tokens. He argues, that's tokens. He hits, that's tokens. He's watched 2 days of hard work go up in smoke during a 20 minute tantrum due to his lack of control. And then did a beautiful job of reigning in his temper in later in the week with one reminder "do you want to loose tokens?" instead of me having to try to verbally engage him in an unwinable debate. It requires me to be very routine driven and consistent and the list of what he earns is posted for him to refer to. Hopefully this will decrease the "gimmies". He's also 6 and not a teenager yet.

    I've also gotten very good at recognizing when he has a tearful fit because of being overly challenged and when he just doesn't want to do the task I've requested. He also gets lots of positive feedback with extra tokens when he does what we want him to do spontaneously - like telling me something is hard instead of immediately complaining. He can tell me what he should do, his problem is using the strategies we've worked so hard on teaching him. Medications won't necessarily do that. Practice, reinforcement, and modeling is all I can do at this point to try to help him carryover those skills he's worked so hard on. Like most parents here, I'm willing to try anything that works - so far the positive and negative consequences of a token system are working for him.

  12. guest3

    guest3 Guest

    I know difficult child I can be offered a million dollars if he doesn't want to do it, no deal.

    difficult child II however loves rewards but definatley has a hard time waiting. We avoid stores and Malls because last time I was in Costco he beemed a GB Game off some poor man's head when I refused to buy it for him. I should lend him out to cure shop-a-holics.

    difficult child II definatley struggles with all of these: impulse control, delayed gratification, and organizational skills
  13. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    Nope. Money won't do it. Not at home anyway. difficult child seems interested, but when it actually comes down to doing something he doesn't want to do. He won't do it. He has asked about cutting lawns (have a few recent widow's in our neighborhood). difficult child's problem is he seems interested, says he will do it....until, something better comes up and he abandon's the chore. So, I am trying to tell him if he asks, and gets a job cutting lawns (not that big) that job comes before any and all plans. he says he knows that, but from experience, he is all about him. Don't know if it will be a good idea or not. But money..yes he wants it, no if it will interfere with something he wants to do.
  14. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Well-Known Member

    We haven't used cash for homework here. I figure the school assigned it, they can pay up if she requires a bribe to do it, lol! Seriously though, her school has a responsibility & independence program in place, parents have been encouraged not to bribe or offer incentives for school work, but rather talk to the teacher so the teacher can work out the issue with the student. We have a small allowance and minor responsibility system here:
    Make her bed
    Feed the cats
    Put dirty laundry in the hamper
    Clear her plate from the table
    Put away toys
    *Help pull out the trash cans
    *Help set the table

    *These don't happen all the time, but she knows to do it when asked or she will be docked.

    It's worked pretty well. She likes getting the money, but she also likes to take care of herself & be independent. Occasionally, we'll let her earn a little extra if there's something she really wants. We use chores like pulling weeds, washing the kitchen floor, shoveling, picking up the yard, putting away shoes (why is there always a huge pile by the door?!?).
  15. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Loth, having been through each and every sort of behavior mod system out there, I can say that all work for a while and none seem to work forever until the child/adult decides to be involved.
    I would say do what works. Hopefully the joy she has at her success will prode her on to master whatever skill she needs to master.
    I dangled carrots of some sort to achieve certain goals. I offer to pay for chores now that difficult child doesn't live here but the mindset of the difficult child will change when they get it. In the meantime, she has schoolwork to do in order to not feel left behind from her peers. I would have paid difficult child, stood on my head or given him whatever if I could have gotten him to master his schoolwork fundamentals back in grade school. Truthfully at that age money didn't hold value for him. It's only since he was 18 or 19 that he made the connection.

    There really are two issues for your little difficult child. Mastering schoolwork and doing what her peers are doing and then teaching how to self motivate, limit her own frustration and to feel self pride in accomplishment. Reminding yourself and difficult child of the goals helps to focus. Whatever it takes works ok for me. I have no shame any more. I would do the chicken dance in public(not a pretty site) to get difficult child to master skills for a functional life so rewarding difficult child with money is a no brainer for me. Money without the life lessons is a waste of your money though.
  16. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I've been shocked at the amount of incentives being used in my childrens' elementary school on a daily/weekly basis. Candy, special treats or activities, movies, tickets, etc have been a routine part of most classrooms as well as the school-wide behavioral program.

    My difficult child isn't very motivated by money and resists chores at home in a very serious way. He does better at school complying on those sorts of tasks where peer pressure is big. I've not had any luck with cash for jobs but he does like to do summer math for trading cards. I've done it for two years now and he's usually really eager to do the math. I do "Double Card Fridays" which he thinks is fun and he usually wracks up a few pages then. This summer he's really stable so I'm going to try and make a dent in keeping his room picked up, etc....but I've got to get my mess from painting out of there first!

    I didn't think I'd ever be a mom to fork out cash for schoolwork or grades but I got into a bind with my oldest in math one year and the incentive of cash for a grade helped in a huge way. He's one of those kids that when he gets discouraged he gets really, really down on the task and it was well worth my 5 bucks a semester to help turn him around and keep him there so he doesn't lose math skills.
  17. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    Five bucks a semester....many, many, many years ago my father offered me $200 a quarter for a B > average. Not hard. I could do that without even bringing a book home. hmmmmm, that sounds a bit like difficult child.
  18. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    This is actually the first time that I used money as a motivator for her homework. The thing is, the things that she appears to have a problem with, I know she can do it. Since she's been into earning money, lately, I thought that this would be a good way to do it. Once she's mastered it and feels confident in her ability to do the task at hand, no money will be given. Then if something else begins to be a problems, I'll try it again. It's instant gratification for her. You should have seen how stinking excited she was when she did it all by herself. Besides, school is over this week anyway. Perhaps, I'll buy her a kid word search book to try to master over the summer.

    She does do chores, without monetary incentive, but the bigger stuff that she helped me with this weekend, I gave her some money for. She deserved it. She was a big help and didn't complain once. We were able to get the entire house cleaned within an hour and a half. Well worth the two bucks.

    Her regular chores include putting the silverware away from the dishwasher (I take out the sharp stuff, first). Empty the garbages in the bathrooms, up and downstairs, picking up toys in living room, keeping her room straight (sometimes) making her bed, putting her clothes away. She doesn't get money for these things. if she complains, I start rattling off all the things that I do around the house. It shuts her up quickly enough. Threating to stop washing her clothes really gets her. (obviously I wouldn't, but since she loves clothes, it works).

    The extras that she did over the weekend included vacuuming the kitchen and bathroom floors so I could mop...(I have a small vacuum that she can handle) putting various things away that I had asked her to do, wiping down the counters and bathrooms with Clorox wipes and dusting. She did a great job.
  19. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Well-Known Member

    Originally Posted By: Lothlorien
    The extras that she did over the weekend included vacuuming the kitchen and bathroom floors so I could mop...(I have a small vacuum that she can handle) putting various things away that I had asked her to do, wiping down the counters and bathrooms with Clorox wipes and dusting. She did a great job.

    That's great! I hope to have Duckie do some of those things in the near future as her allergies are slowly improving.
  20. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I read somewhere that some states are going to cash incentives for grades. Some are already giving Ipods and other such things.

    Students have mixed reactions oddly enough...lol. Some say...well...I dont know if its right but we will take the money and stuff.