Safety Guy had a rough week last week, which included trouble at school. I won't go into the details, but it involved some kids being typical kids, and a misunderstanding and an overreaction on his part. Because he wasn't honest about the sequence of events when we questioned him, we realized we'd have to discipline both his choices at school, and his decision to not be completely forthright about his part in the trouble when he came home and talked to us. His punishment: a Saturday of chores with his father.
He took it well, really. We've had heaven only knows how many go-rounds from him of, "It's not my fault, they made me mad, they deserved it and I shouldn't be punished!" Some days I feel like we'll never get the idea of personal responsibility drummed into his head and his heart. If I had a dollar for every time I've told him, "YOU are responsible for YOU! Your actions, your words, YOU have to own them, with no excuses!" - I'd be able to take a nice little vacation. And boy, am I ready for it right about now. So, I was actually quite pleased that he accepted that he needed consequences for what happened, and that he performed his penance without any attitude issues. Maybe we are making progress? I hope?
After that discipline-go-round, I decided to see if a little incentive might help him get past this latest problem with self-control (or lack thereof). They say that incentive makes all the difference, and you need the right reinforcement for each person you're trying to motivate, so I pulled out something I'd squirreled a way for him for just such an occasion as this: a 3-DVD set called "1001 Classic Commercials."
Yep, 16 hours of nothing but commercials. Really.
RetroJunk? Anyhow, he was really psyched to see that DVD set, and we told him that to earn it he has to go for two full weeks without any incidents at school where he is at fault. He has to watch his words and actions, be respectful to his teachers, and put his hands in his pockets when he's tempted to shove someone who's annoying him. If he messes up, we'll reset the "clock" and start the two weeks over again. The DVD set is his, he just has to earn the privilege of watching it.
The past two days he's come home and reported to me that he kept his temper and didn't have any trouble - he was quite pleased with himself. Hopefully this will help break the cycle of reacting first and thinking it through later. He's been motivated this way in the past; it's worth trying again. And, he knows that if he gets suspended in school again, the chores will be much more unpleasant than cleaning out the garage, sweeping the driveway, emptying the water out of the tote of giant Tinkertoys out back and cleaning off the front porch. Washing out the litter boxes, scrubbing the garbage cans, and doing his sister's laundry come to mind. . . .