do consequence or rewards ever work for your difficult child?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by sjexpress, Jul 26, 2010.

  1. sjexpress

    sjexpress Guest

    I was just wondering because over the years we have tried both systems...offering rewards for good behavior(avoiding bad behavior like gaining control if losing it, etc) and then we have even used consequences like punishments or loss of something for behaving badly, but neither seems to make any difference for us.
    You would think it would being that we ask difficult child what it is he would like to earn for behaving and we set a fair standard but honestly, he can't manage it. And as far as consequences goes, even taking away the most important thing to him seems to not help him remember not to do what caused the problem again. It seems like a big waste of everyones time and effort but rules have to be followed! Just wondering if anything works for you?
  2. BeachPeace

    BeachPeace Guest

    Not for us - Indigo can be happy just playing with a rock while Blue sems to have difficulty with cause and effect thinking (problem due to his Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE))
    So hard to take things away when A) they don't care or B) Can't make the connection..
  3. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    Unfortunately, rewards and consequences work with daughter only in a limited way. Rewards are more effective than consequences, but the results seem to be short lived. That does not stop me from imposing logical consequences, though, because the real world does not say "OH! You're a difficult child? Ok. We'll accomodate you.". Nope.

    What seems to work best - reward wise - is plain old positive reinforcement. My difficult child is a people-pleaser which makes this part a bit easier. I constantly and consistently give her verbal - and sometimes written - reinforcement when she does something positive. I rarely (but sometimes do) comment on "expected" things like "You're home for your curfew!" but I do pay attention to her positive acts. Recently, I attended the funeral service for a freind's father in law. daughter decided to go (it was at 10:30 a.m.!). When we got home, I thanked her and also mentioned that my friend was deeply touched. These things do stick with them. I honestly believe that.

    As to consequences - yikes. For the most part she really does not care. She overdrew her checking account - four times. It was a joint account with-me, taken out when she was 17. First time, bank does not impose fee. I tell her she's lucky. If she does it again, she pays. She does it again. Bank imopses $35. She pays. I create an excel workbook that makes balancing very easy and e-maijl it to her. She does it AGAIN. I point out that she is now $70 poorer not counting the overdraft amount. Bank imposes fee, she pays. I tell her "If you do it again, I will close the account." She does and I do. In the meantime, she has turned 18. She is very upset because she cannot access an iTunes gift certificate at Christmas because she no longer has an ATM card. She asks to use my credit card and I remind her that, on three occassions, she charged iTunes to that card when told specifally not to. I tell her she's 18 and can open an account on her own. I advance her $50 from her savings (yes, I still have control of this - for good reason). She promises not to touch the $50 used to open the account and to pay back her savings. She does not pay back the savings and overdraws again. I refuse to help. By now, the bank has changed hands and they - treating this as a first account - do not level a fee. They tell her, however, it will be $3 per day every day she has a neg balance. She wracks up $100 in fees before DEX bails her out. As far as I know, she hasn't overdrawn again, but she does have a job now. She also has not paid back DEX. I won't be helping her again.

    It's really hard with rewards/consequences with a difficult child. We just have to find a mix that works with our individual kids.
  4. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Rewards have worked better than consequences when he was younger... What worked well when is a clear you can watch tv whe you have your homework done. That kind of thing. As he got older though he would work at getting around any rules or limits we set.

    And even with logical consequneces it seemed he had to do things several times before it sunk as a little boy he took stuff from a store several times, each time having to go back and confess before he seemed to get it....and he didnt even get that forever as he has some recent arrests for shoplilfting!

    What i did find helpful was talking to him about a situation I knew might be problematic ahead of time. Laying it out for him and what the consequences would be. I think one of his problems has always been impulsivity and he literally does not think about the consequences ahead of time.
  5. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Consequences never worked for either of my kids - probably because I could rarely figure out logical ones.

    The rewards system worked wonders for difficult child when he was coming out of his battle for anxiety. However, it worked for him because HE was working hard on his behaviors and the reward was just what it was suppose to be, a small recognition of a job well done.

    For most kids, if the reward system is used in chart form, it will be short lived as the kid gets too bored with it and wants it to become more (bigger reward for less work type of thing).

    Also, for most kids, the consequence or reward becomes the focus of the behavior so they really are not learning anything. They need to learn to behave properly because it is the right thing to do. It is easier for us most of the time to give a consequence (that was bad, you need to be disciplined) or reward (if you are good you will get this) than it is to deal directly with the situation (talk about why that was not a good choice and what could have been differently or point out why the discission was a good one).

    Gotta keep trying to communicate every chance you get. They may pretend like they are not listening but somewhere along the line they will pick up what you are trying to teach.
  6. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    I agree with you in principal....and what you say about learning to do the right thing is certainly what hppened with my daughter. And maybe to some extent my son got some of our lessons....i don't know....but when it comes to my son what you say sounds good but never got us anywhere. He just doesn't seem to have the same level of consience as other kids.

    Now he is out on his own and having to learn to survive on his own. He is getting some natural consequences for his actions.
  7. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    For Kanga, sometimes a reward will work but only if the requested behavior isn't too hard. Consequences just escalated things.

    For the boys, everything had to be immediate. When Tigger was 5 or 6, his therapist had us buy a bunch(100s) of poker chips, a big clear plastic container for Tigger and a big fanny pack for us. Every single time that Tigger did something correct, we were suppose to state what he did correctly and give him a chip to put in his container. When the container was full, he got to pick a prize. This worked amazingly well. There were no negatives - he couldn't lose tokens for being bad. We saw the most improvement with him using this instant feedback. While at 10, your DS would probably be too embarrassed to carry around a jar of tokens, maybe some other way of instant rewards (give him pennies and let him trade them in for dollars at the end of the day with a trip to the dollar store 1-2 times per week???

    We are just now at the point where we can delay rewards and apply consequences. But the consequences still have to be short (ie. grounded to his room for 1-2 hours max).
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    If he is taking drugs, and I don't know if he is or not, nothing will probably work. If he is conscience-challenged it is harder as well.