Unlike all other plans that involve rewards and consequences, this program allows free will, thus removing conflict from the moment, allowing our son to choose to take care of his responsibilities. If he doesn’t there’s no reward (like many systems), but what’s different about this system is that we then allow him to walk away from the responsibility while showing no signs of dissatisfaction. There’s no forcing him to do homework or making him do a chore.
The theory is that by forcing someone to do something you aren’t creating good habits, instead you’re breeding resentment. More than other systems, this mimics the real world. If you choose not to do a job you were hired for, you don’t get paid. Nobody makes you do the job, if they did, you would be filled with a lot of anger and be ready for a fight.
So in the future, our son will have responsibilities 3xs a day. There’s getting ready for school, then there’s homework after school, then finally there’s a chore after dinner. After our son completes each set of tasks, we do an inspection. We will not hover over him and scold him and beg him to do it. If he did it well, he gets a “pass” and has access to all the natural rewards in our home (like tv or video games). If he gets a “no pass”, he doesn’t get the rewards and we do not force him to complete the tasks, he can walk away. Later that day, he has another shot of earning rewards at the next inspection, giving him the opportunity to choose to be responsible with a clean slate.
We’re told that if we stick to the plan and take away all cohersion as parents and allow our son to freely choose to handle his responsibilities, he’ll choose to do it because he’ll want the rewards (minus some natural testing). Now what if our son chooses not to do homework but sneaks the rewards. Well the responsibility falls on us as parents to make sure he doesn’t have access to the rewards, even if that means removing them from the home. As our psychiatrist taught us, our job is not to control our son, but to control the rewards. What will follow will be more compliance, less conflict and overtime this will undo the wiring from the past.
A key for us parents is to not react to our son’s decisions when he chooses to walk away from responsibilities. If we do, we’re only feeding into our son’s desire for conflict, which continues the cycle of inappropriate behavior.
There’s a lot more to this plan, including the use of magic 1,2,3 for inappropriate behavior outside of expectations, heck I had to read a whole book on it, so I’m sure that this description is incomplete, but it gives you an idea of where we’re headed.
I have to admit that I’m nervous, we’ve been through so many systems for behavior modification, but I’m intrigued about this one since it seems to tackle it from a entirely different angle.
Wish us luck!