This year my son started third grade. For us, it’s been a whole new ball game. The boy has strengths, to be certain. He is an excellent reader, who loves books. He is kind and funny. He can build things that I could never even dream of creating, but this year has also exposed a couple of his weaknesses. One of those weaknesses has been spelling. Like many parents, we try to be nice and when that doesn’t work, we become firm. There are just some things that need to happen and one of those things is homework. Am I right or am I right, parents? We’ve run the gamut of creative ideas and harsh punishments to motivate him, but there are few things that work in the long term. However, in the last few weeks, we seem to have found a solution.
We’ve made an agreement (thanks, Kudoso!). Our dear son must complete thirty minutes of study with me, WITHOUT whining and complaining several times a week. If he does, he earns Kudos. He can also earn Kudos for doing household chores. When he earns enough of this virtual currency, as per our agreement, he can cash them in for the coveted, General Grievous Star Wars Buildable Lego. Yes, he can also cash in some of his kudos to “buy” more tech time, or he can save them to earn something he really wants. The choice is his.
The boy is eight; he still needs us to guide him towards good decisions. However, he is learning the value of hard work, patience, and saving for things when we allow him to use his Kudos in whatever manner he wishes. Hopefully, by the time he has his own checking account or when he is saving up for his first car, these lessons, learned while he is young with smaller consequence, will pay off.
As a mom, I grow weary of nagging, begging, and bribing my children to do the things they should be doing. I do it because I love them and want them to succeed, not because I especially enjoy it. As they grow older, I want to do less nagging, begging and bribing, because I want my children to be empowered to make good decisions. I don’t want them to look to me to do everything for them. I don’t want to be in my fifties and still be micromanaging my (now) young adults. I want to be able to cut the apron strings and see my children succeed, on their own. This is just one small step in the process.
Not everyday is a picnic. There are still days where the battle rages on with my son while we learn the complex rules of spelling in the English language, but it is nice that I can remind him that he can reap the benefits of his hard work. There is a sense of accomplishment for him as he nears his goal and understands that with responsibility there is also reward!
By Jesica Swanson