thanks - a very eloquent explanation. We don't use rewards but on Monday I tried to offer something nice presented as a natural consequence of helpful behaviours rather than a reward for reward's sake. Monkey Boy has been very destructive - huge holes in the wall, cavity insulation all round the house mirror door smashed, DVDs smashed etc - so how can I give good gifts if I know that they will be destroyed. So when Jealous Dog managed to support Monkey Boy not to be destructive and Monkey Boy managed to be sad rather than angry and aggressive I really wanted to say that's great now you can have something nice for your rooms because I know Monkey Boy is unlikely to destroy. So I got them both a set of three avengers prints for their walls - they love avengers and the walls are currently blank save the holes etc. They were thrilled but five minutes after putting them up Jealous Dog stopped supporting Monkey Boy not to get mad and started trying to provoke him big big big time. On the plus side Monkey Boy stayed calm - wow. On the minus side Jealous Dog just could not stop so I had to take the prints down and say I will pop them back up as soon as you stop being abusive to your brother. He went ape and almost destroyed Monkey Boy's prints but I saw it coming and blocked the path taking a few punches and hugely hurtful comments on the way. After an hour locked in the loo screaming abuse he did calm down and say sorry and we were able to put the prints back up. But wow what a tragic way to experience giving a good gift to your children. For Jealous Dog he had lost his role as the "good one" as Monkey Boy is now good as well - this was clearly just too much regardless of the extrinsic motivation of the good gift even though it was not explicitly presented as a reward but a natural consequence. It's always so very complicated for our kids!
Mum to DS, Jealous Dog (13) and DS, Monkey Boy (11), married to Rundad
Perfect example of how adopters need to "think outside the box" runmum even when giving rewards.
I wonder if you should buy some clip frames for the posters so that they don't get torn up in a rage. You can get ones with perspex instead of glass which is safer if thrown. I know they can always take the frames apart and remove the prints for tearing, but it does slow down the whole process and might make them rethink destroying the prints especially if they do like them. Easier to remove from the wall too when you have to take them down.
I agree with the very well written piece about sticker charts. I have used sticker charts to quite good effect but the motivation has been different. I have siblings aged 4 and 5, they are intensely competitive and jealous, so sticker charts have worked now and again as one can not stand seeing the other having more stickers for..example..eating all their vegtables, or doing their reading..it works sometimes, but anything that works even sometimes is worth hanging on to in my parental toolkit.
Runmum that sounds like our house!
Mum to DD Lapwing (11) & DS Peewit (10) Married to Mr Mudlark