I had called at my friends house for coffee and had just sat down when she exploded at her step-daughter in a rage filled rant about wrappers so I decided to cut my visit short. I don’t normally back-up women when they lose their temper with their children but I felt she was justified on this occasion. For months she had been complaining to me about her step-daughters behaviour and how she doesn’t listen but the thing that drives her insane is when the young lady in question sticks food wrappers down the sides of the sofa. Between every cushion there where chocolate wrappers and crisp packets. The child knows not to do this. I say child, she’s 10 years old so she should have some common sense about her. But, still, after months of trying to drive it through her skull that it is unacceptable to do it, she keeps doing it.
As I watched my friend turn a funny shade of purple, I couldn’t help but feel smug. My daughter didn’t do things that, but I had trained her well. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t long ago that I was in her shoes. Screaming and crying at each other, blood pressure through the roof. I was really starting to lose my mind over some of the stuff my daughter was doing. My pet hate is snotty tissues on the floor, clothes on the floor, anything on the floor really. I don’t expect children to scrub floors and clean the chimney, but I do expect them to pick up their own stuff, not leave their shoes at the bedroom door for someone to trip over as they walk in to put washing away.
How did I get my daughter to go from pain-in-my-ass to golden child? I’m glad you asked. Bribery. Well, sort of. My daughter had be going on about doing chores and getting paid for it. She offered to wash the car, cut the grass, and other random things that I didn’t want her doing. Why would I let her play with the lawnmower when she can’t even pick up her socks? Then it hit me. I’ll make her do what she is supposed to and pay her for that. And the kiddie contract was born. It was nothing too difficult, just what we parents expect our kids to do. Just think of it this way, if a grown-up person who is employed and works gets paid in relation to their performance, then why shouldn’t we treat our kids the same?
- Pocket money shall be paid at the rate of £10 per week.
- In order to get this money, all tasks must be completed.
- The floor will be clear of rubbish. For every tissue, item of clothing, hair clip, etc, left on the floor, £1 will be deducted from the pocket money.
- Performance of homework will be monitored. For every % lost in results, 10p will be deducted. For example- 98% in homework, you lose 20p.
- Extra money will be paid in the event of outstanding achievement.
- Random acts of stupidity will lose you the full amount for that week, example- leaving your phone at your backside (it was expensive and you should take care of your stuff).
- £1 will be deducted every time a drawer is left lying open.
- £1 will be deducted every time you don’t shower.
As you can see, these are not difficult things, they are basic and they are things which should be easy for an 11 year old to do. The first week I put the contract in place she messed it up big style. 3 tissues were left on the floor, drawers were left open twice, and her homework scores were in the 80% range. She lost the entire amount when she lost her new phone after only having it for two days. It later turned up in the car but the fact remained that she had been careless and she lost her weeks money because of it. She must have thought I was going to be soft about it and pay her anyway but when I didn’t turn over the cash she knew it was for real. The following week she got no less than 97% in any homework’s or tests, her room was spotless, and she showered everyday. She put her washing in the basket, she even managed to earn extra by being shortlisted for an art competition. I may be £15 down this week but I haven’t popped a blood vessel.
It just goes to show, with the right motivation, children can achieve whatever they want to. The contract will be altered as time goes on to include boys, alcohol, and drugs but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. I think I may have laid the foundation for a hard working young lady who can look after herself. Well, I hope I have, but only time will tell.