Trying something new

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Wiped Out, Feb 5, 2009.

  1. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    The in home people have come up with a new thing they want us to try with difficult child. At first they wanted us to try and do a level system but decided that would be too difficult for our difficult child. They wanted something really simple for him.

    Wednesday we started the program. He gets a chip (like a poker chip) for every half hour he can go with being respectful and kind. He also gets a chip for taking his medications within the first 10 seconds he is asked to. He can also earn chips for extra chores if we want. That's the gist of it-he can earn for a few other things, like doing something the first time asked.

    To do much of anything he has to spend his chips. A half hour of t.v. costs a chip. A half hour of Wii costs two chips. A half hour of computer costs three chips. A soda costs five chips. Those are a few examples but you get the idea.

    Tuesday he was complaining he wouldn't do the program. Tonight he told me he loves it. He has actually started taking his medications with no problems. He was in the middle of a movie when I asked him to take his late afternoon medications. At first he said, wait a second, then (without me saying anything) he changed his mind and got right up to take the medications so he could earn a chip.

    It's too early to tell how this will work (there have been times he has earned chips and others not). It surely isn't a cure all but hopefully it will help. Keep your fingers crossed!

    One extra thing, I actually received a note from his case manager today saying how great of a study skills period he had yesterday. He did a good job of transitioning from activities to study time and when he had earned free time on the computer instead of playing he helped the preschool child of another staff member get on the computer and play. She said it made her day! How cool is that?
  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    The chip system may work. Our experience with it was that it was great for about 2 weeks, ok for another month, and then it didn't work at all. Just be careful what you give him chips for.

    One idiot therapist grad student didn't have kids and didn't understand family dynamics. He seriously wanted us to give Wiz a chip for every 10 mins he was not hurting Jess, and for every time he was nice to her.


    I am going to send Wiz the message that his sister is so worthless he should be PAID to not hurt her AND MORE to be nice to her???

    I am supposed to send Jess the message that she is so worthless her bro is being PAID not to hurt her and to be nice to her????

    I didn't think so. I listened politely to him telling me how this would work, how Wiz could use points for tv time, for a book, whatever.

    Then I asked him who was going to pay for Jessie's therapy when she felt worthless and had no self-esteem because her bro had to be PAID to be nice to her.

    You should have seen his jaw drop! He was stunned that I would challenge him. He was sure that we could keep the chips secret from jess. She wouldn't have to know, he said. Wiz would TELL HER, GLOAT ABOUT IT, I said.

    He called his supervisor in because I was adamant. I really respected her - seh was AWESOME and we had done a parent/child group with her - parents with her, kids in another room working on things with grad students.

    Imagine Mr. Grad Student's shock and surprise when Supervisor PhD ripped into him about not using things like that to have one child not hurt another, or to have a child not hurt anyone!

    So I am not a big chip fan. Wiz was just too manipulative.

    I HOPE AND PRAY that it works for you to build new habits that are good. I would suggest keeping a diary of how it is working and what it seems to be reinforcing.

    Some kids get to the point that they need more chips/points to do something than they did at first. This is a sign to be watchful for. Or they want to get more tv time for the same amt of chips. There is a child in Ireland who wrote a book about how well his "reinforcement" system worked. he was diagnosis'd Aspie. There was a follow-up article by his mother a couple of years later that said things were going badly because he wanted a reward before he would even get out of bed, much less do anything else.

    I honestly think that was a case of a mom who followed the case worker's advice and a child who manipulated her to that point.

    As for the note from the case mgr - that is AWESOME, totally AWESOME!! So often our kids are great with younger kids. Not sure why, but they can be.
  3. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I think it can be a great reward system -- I hope it works for you! We've tried something like that and for the most part, it worked pretty well. I am the one who has trouble being consistent, so that's why it ultimately failed for us. :(
  4. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I hope that works. I did something on that line with my difficult child last Winter/Spring. He was 11 years old at the time. We also cut down the length of time needed to earn the chip(s) and awarded them on a constant basis. difficult child needed to know the moment he earned the chips, not wait until the end of the day before adding the earnings together.

    I also purchased three poster boards for my difficult child to create his lists. One board for how to earn chips, one board listing what would happen to loose chips, and one board on how to spend chips. We focused on the earning and spending. The loosing was for major issues being worked on like putting his hand on the car handle before it stopped and using bad words. For the most part, this was a positive reinforcement for good behavior - he very seldom lost chips because there were not very many ways that he could.

    I think having difficult child make his own poster gave him ownership of the project.

    This also worked so much longer than I expected for my difficult child and did have the desired effects of getting rid of some unacceptable behaviors.
  5. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Susie-Wow-that therapist sounds terrible! I don't know yet if this will work. We are trying to keep it simple and just focusing on the respect issue and following directions (such as with the medications). He does not get rewarded for being nice to his sister.The diary is a really good idea, I will definitely do that!

    Gvcmom-Consistency is hard but right now husband and I are on top of it and hopefully will be able to build the habits he needs.

    Andy-We too are giving difficult child the chips as he earns them (unless we are away from home and then do it immediately when we get home). The in home came up with a neat chart for difficult child similar to what you describe. Right now difficult child cannnot lose any chips he has earned. I'm glad to hear it worked so well with your difficult child.
  6. jal

    jal Member

    We are doing something like that too. My difficult child is a lot younger than yours, but the in home came up with using play money to achieve his goals and they are going to change the look of it from week to week. Last night they brought it with-his picture on it-too cute. He has bought into it so far. It's been great.
  7. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Great idea. Positive reinforcement is so much pleasanter to distribute than negative.
    Simple is probably best for your difficult child. With executive function issues he can't really project forward to the consequence or reflect back to how he would have contributed to the problem.
    Fingers crossed. You need something to give with this little guy.
  8. bran155

    bran155 Guest

    That sounds like a great plan!! I hope it works for him. I love the idea of not only getting the chips when he is behaving, but having to spend them on activities/things he wants to do or have. Good idea!!! It also teaches him the value of money, sort of. lol

    Good for difficult child to choose to help the little ones!!!

    Keep us posted, I would love to hear how this plan is working. :)
  9. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    I am happy to hear that it seems to be working!

    We tried a similar system with our difficult child (she had to earn smiley faces, which were posted on a chart which showed what priviledges she had accumulated)...unfortunately she quickly decided that she was only interested in earning the smileys when she had a particular priviledge in mind.

    For example, she doesn't want to watch TV right NOW--so she will not be cooperative right NOW. But later, when she wanted to watch cartoons--she would start doing little extra things to try and earn some smileys. So we only got cooperation if there was something that she wanted to earn at that moment...and the rest of the time, we could forget it.

    So for us--that chart soon went into the "circular file".

    I will keep my fingers crossed that this new system contiues to work!

    Good Luck!!

  10. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts


    I'm so glad that someone has given you a new strategy; something different to try with difficult child. Something positive for him.

    Keeping my fingers crossed that this is the start of new reactions/behaviors from difficult child. A lot of our kids need that "carrot" constantly dangled & that may just be what difficult child needs.
  11. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Jal-It's great your son is buying into it! Wishing you continued success with it!

    Fran-Thanks! I'm liking that it is focused on the positive. We do need something to start working with him!

    Bran-Thanks, I'm crossing my fingers and will keep you posted on how it goes. I like too that he has to "spend" his chips for activities he likes.

    Daisy-Sorry it didn't work out for your difficult child. It's so early with it, that it is too early to tell how it will work. The thing with our difficult child is he always wants to be doing something that is on the list of things he has to spend chips on.

    Linda-I too am glad they have given us this idea to try. We needed something different. I think he is one who needs a carrot. I like that it is focusing on the positive.