MoneyMindedMoms: When Your Child Just Won't Listen

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When Your Child Just Won't Listen
May 12 2011 06:50 PM | Sabrina O’Malone  in Protecting Your Family -----
There are some situations when obedience can mean the difference between life and death. Imagine the dangers to a child in a parking lot who tends to jerk away when told to hold Mommy’s hand. Or the dangers to a child who likes to run away when Mommy calls. Or even the older child who tends to lie about buckling their seat belt. They can all spell disaster.

So what do you do with the child who simply will not listen? I realize that every child has moments of defiance - those are not the children I’m talking about. I’m referring to the child that 9 times out of 10 simply will not do what they are told.

As a mother of six, the odds were that I’d have a child or two like this. And I do. At first, I tried reasoning, explaining.

That didn’t work.

Then I tried rewarding good behavior - but that did little to curb bad behavior. In fact, it created a sense of entitlement whenever they followed any rules at all.

So I tried implementing consequences for misbehavior or disobedience. But it only induced a sense of trepidation as they consciously chose to disobey anyway – a result of knowing full-well the consequences if caught.

Finally, I implemented immediate rewards for obedience coupled with immediate consequences for misbehavior. Voila! Compliance began to soar.

In management circles, the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) concept is currently the rage. Clearly spelling out what will be gained and what will be lost based upon actions will increase worker productivity. Surprisingly, it will increase obedience in children. So if you’ve got a child (or two) who just won’t listen, why not try letting them know upfront what’s in it for them if they’ll obey and what’s in store if they don’t?

Sabrina O’Malone works full-time while raising and homeschooling her 6 children ages 13 and under. (That’s no typo - six kids + a full-time job + homeschooling!) Thanks to the Great Recession, she and her husband Daniel are rediscovering the lost art of frugality - and writing about the secrets to maintaining a great lifestyle while saving money. To keep up to date on Sabrina’s comings and goings and other hot-button topics, check out the following:


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